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Thoughts (and questions) about whether to bring family into the business

Publication date: 
May 2010
Bill Gray, Control Concepts, Inc.
Type of media: 

My business in Houston is now 25 years old. At this time I don't have any family members involved in it. And so this question has been on my mind lately:  Should I try to recruit family members?

I started my business in 1984 when my family and I were very young. Thinking back, I have no recollection of my expectations. I guess I thought I could support my young family better if I worked for myself. I'm sure I was also motivated by ego. It sounds cool to be a business owner. It really sounds cool when you are 27 years old.

I started the business with two other guys in the back room of a house with a total of $5,000 in capital. Looking back, I'm not sure how we made it. I know I could never do it again. Times have changed and the business niche we chose has evolved to the point that it would not be possible today - especially with such limited resources.

Long ago, I split with my original partners. My wife Liz and I have three daughters and a son, all of whom are grown. I'm not sure if any of them would ever want to work in the business, but I feel it's important to decide now if I ever want to pose that question to them and/or how I would react if they approach me on the subject first.