The-Goering-CenterFLORENCE – Most family-owned small businesses do not survive into the second generation because of breakdowns in communication and trust among family members.

That’s the assessment of Steve McLemore, the engagement director for the Goering Center for Family and Private Business. He contends family conflicts, not monetary issues, are the biggest villains.

“The hard stuff is the people stuff,” he told members of the Florence Rotary Club at a luncheon on Monday, December 4.

The Goering Center provides training on leadership development, communication techniques, strategic planning and succession planning. McLemore spoke to the Rotarians about factors that spell success or disaster for privately-owned businesses.

The survival rate for family businesses is not good, he said. He cited statistics that indicate only 30% of family businesses survive into the second generation. The rate drops to 10 percent for the third generation and 4 percent for the fourth generation. The average longevity is 24 years.

In McLemore’s view most fail because family members take problems at work home with them and “they spill over into their relationships.” Conflicts lead to breakdowns in communication and trust. The key to survival is separating family issues from business issues.

“This is not an economic issue. It’s a society issue,” McLemore said.

McLemore said the Goering Center helps small business owners communicate better, plan better and create signed agreements among family members. Signed agreements that spell out what family members contribute to the business and what the business contributes back to the family members are critical, even among family members with no history of disagreements or conflicts.

“The best indicator of a successful business is a signed agreement,” McLemore said. Such agreements aid communication and facilitate trust because they separate family decisions and businesses decisions, he explained.

The Goering Center is affiliated with the University of Cincinnati College of Business. Founder John Goering served as an accounting professor, assistant dean and university registrar at UC.

The center does not provide consulting services, McLemore said. The center offers training institutes; breakfasts, business forums and symposia; and roundtables and awards programs.


Butler Explains FC Cincinnati Challenge to Rotarians

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FLORENCE – Kevin Butler faces the task of building a base of rabid FC Cincinnati soccer fans who don’t recognize geographical boundaries. He left ESPN for a job as chief branding officer for FC Cincinnati. His charge is marketing, public relations and outreach that creates a one-community brand. His challenge is the Ohio River. “What […]

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WWII Vet Bickel Shares Utah Beach Landing

November 29, 2017

FLORENCE – Doug Bickel’s cap acted like a magnet when he returned to Utah Beach on the coast of France for the first time in 71 years. The letters on his cap say “World War II Veteran.” Bickel, 95, was among the 24,000 allied troops who hit the beaches at Normandy in 1944 on D-Day. […]

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USO Involved in Hurricane Relief

November 16, 2017

FLORENCE – When the Kentucky National Guard was called to assist with hurricane relief in the Caribbean in early November, the USO went into action. Members of the Kentucky Guard learned of the assignment only a day ahead of their scheduled departure. The USO put together care packages with food and toiletry items for the […]

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Beth Long and New Day Achievement

November 9, 2017

FLORENCE – Horses don’t lie. They don’t mask their feelings. They don’t talk back or judge you if you pour out your innermost thoughts. And, they’re loving, caring and sensitive. “We use that natural relationship as a mirror to help people overcome their relationship problems,” says Beth Long, founder and CEO of New Day Achievement […]

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Patriotic Employer Awards

October 23, 2017

FLORENCE – Employees of two Northern Kentucky businesses have received awards for exemplary support of members of the National Guard and U.S. Army Reserve. Rod Bell, area chair for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), presented the awards at a meeting of the Florence Rotary Club on Monday, Oct. 16. ESGR is a […]

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Athletic Director Bothof Reviews NKU’s Climb to Division 1

October 6, 2017

Northern Kentucky University, a significant community asset since 1976, recently completed the move to Division 1 membership and acceptance into the Horizon League.    The move more closely aligns NKU with other regional institutions that value athletics and academics.  “This allows us to recruit not just athletes, but all students to an outstanding regional university like […]

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Mayor Whalen Gives Annual Report to Rotarians

September 26, 2017

FLORENCE – Senior housing is popping up everywhere, Mall Road is rebounding and a community plaza is almost ready to go. That’s the good news from Florence Mayor Diane Whalen. The bad news is the heroin epidemic rages on, unabated. The mayor presented her annual update on the city’s well-being at the Florence Rotary Club […]

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Bunning Center Addresses Grief and Anger

September 4, 2017

FLORENCE – Place matters. That’s the assessment of Dr. James Ellis, a professional counselor, chaplain and the bereavement care coordinator at St. Elizabeth Healthcare. That’s why he began lobbying for a separate place at St. Elizabeth’s facilities in Edgewood for grief support as far back as 2009, Ellis said at a luncheon meeting of the […]

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Rotarians Honor Mark and Debbie Staggs as 2017 Citizens of the Year

August 25, 2017

FLORENCE – No one was surprised when Mark Staggs turned attention at the Florence Rotary Citizen of the Year ceremony to Special Olympics volunteers. The Rotarians honored Mark and Debbie Staggs as 2017 Citizens of the Year for their 27 years of leadership of the Special Olympics of Northern Kentucky at a luncheon on Monday, […]

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Family Promise of Northern Kentucky Celebrated First Anniversary

August 2, 2017

FLORENCE – Family Promise of Northern Kentucky celebrated the first anniversary of its reopening with a perfect record for keeping its promises. The homeless sheltering program served 12 families in its first year, which ended July 18. All 12 “graduated,” according to Executive Director Amanda Speier. “We had a 100 percent success rate,” she told […]

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Weinberg Introduces Ronald McDonald House to Rotarians

July 10, 2017

FLORENCE – Mike Weinberg says the Ronald McDonald House is much more than an affordable place to stay for family members with critically injured youngsters at Children’s Hospital Medical Center. “We’re not just a shelter,” Weinberg said. “We provide all the things people are missing from home. “It’s important to us that the families feel […]

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