Setting Up for Success

Setting Up for Success

by Bill High
“[I]n our family, leadership positions, titles, and company ownership are not just handed to you because of your last name.”
– Emily Martin, Martin’s Famous Pastry Shoppe, Inc.


You don’t get to be in the family business just because of your last name.

In the 1950s, Lloyd and Lois Martin founded Martin’s Famous Pastry Shoppe from their one car garage.

Today, this humble company has grown from being sold at farmer’s markets to now producing the #1 Selling Potato Roll in the United States while making $270 million in annual revenue. Their products are used in restaurants around the world, from the UK, to Australia, to the Middle East, and is sold in 20 states in the USA.

Not only that, but Emily Martin is now the fourth generation to literally get her hands in the business. She’s earned seasonal internships, worked in the bakery itself, and even participated in annual family meetings that presented opportunities for marketing and growth of the company.

But how has this company continued to thrive over multiple generations?

Emily attributes the success of the company to each prior Martin generation intentionally preparing the subsequent generation to lead the company.

She noted that each member of the family who wants to be involved in the family business is taught by the preceding generation about the Martin company’s brand and values. Additionally, they are encouraged to work various positions, form relationships with other employees, and even will choose some of the organizations and ministries the company donates to.

While the Martins been successful for four generations, the reality is that most families only have a 30% chance to pass down their business from one generation to another.

Setting your family up for success is important beyond passing down a business. You need to prepare your children to take over the family mission, to be able to defend their values, and to be equipped themselves to pass on the legacy once you are gone.

Building your legacy isn’t accomplished overnight, but rather in the routine moments of the day. So, start small. Encourage your children, teach them your family’s values through what you say and what you do, and most importantly, support them along their walk with God.

This is how you set your family up for success. This is how your family business becomes the 30%.


Photo by cottonbro on Pexels

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Published October 31, 2022

Topics: Family Business | Lessons with Bill

American ValuesBusinessFamilyFamily BusinessFamily Legacy

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