Comment for The Business Newspaper about family business

Comment for The Business Newspaper about family business

When I established the company in the year 1992, I never suspected that in the future there would be almost 200 of us, and that my entire family would be working with me. At the time I just wanted to do what I enjoyed, i.e. devote myself to designing machines, and the opportunity to start a business simply presented itself. So I went for it, and it paid off. Now it's been going for almost 25 years, and I increasingly regard my work as a hobby.

When I think about the question of what a family business means to me, it is certainly not the division of property within the family. By family business I understand members of a family who work under one roof and try to achieve a common goal. All the family members have their tasks and responsibilities. When everyone devotes themselves to what they understand, and respects the others with their knowledge and experience, then no quarrels or conflicts occur between them.

At the beginning my wife worked with me, looking after the accounts, and our son and daughter became involved in the joint venture after their studies in the year 2003. A few years later our family team was also strengthened by a son-in-law, and several other relatives from wider family circles.

We've tried to create the same conditions for our children since they were small, and guide them to help one another and do what they enjoy and are good at. Now, when we all collectively work in the company, nobody in the family business deals with property relationships; instead, they try to achieve the common goal. Everyone in the company has their role and responsibility; everyone devotes themselves to what they have the brains for. We discuss all major decisions together at regular family conferences, and although only one person has the final say, everyone has the opportunity to voice their opinion and express themselves from their perspective. Before, I made all the decisions myself, but today I have the opportunity to listen to various opinions before I take any fundamental step. We usually agree on all key steps with the rest of the family, and I'm sure it will function the same way even after I hand the company over to my successor.

In business, I never let myself be guided merely by the numbers in the accounting documents; other values were, and still are, much more important to me. For example, the fact that we have our own product and development, and that we invest in production capacities, technology and development from our own sources. Among the employees, we still have people who started out with me once, and who helped me build the company up to its present greatness. I'm proud of the fact that my family is of the same opinion as regards building corporate values. We make all decisions together, we value the people who work for us, and we do everything according to our best knowledge and conscience.

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