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Last Update: Sunday April 11, 2021

Key Idea: Manage Your Children With Your Head Not Your Heart

Tere's son, Joe,  balances the needs of the business with client expectations as he leads Zubi's account management function.

Key Question:


When your children work for you, you must keep your head about you.  Everyone is watching.

Family relationships are complicated and business relationships are complicated, too. When you combine them, you’ve got some serious complications! Many small businesses include various family members and even those that don’t now may have legacy issues in the future. There are so many issues that have to be dealt with, everything from keeping home and business separate to managing the sensitivity of unrelated key employees.

Q:   What resources are available to a family-owned business to help the owners with their unique challenges?

A: Lots! A Google search of "family business" returned 17.7 million hits. That would be a good place to start. There are academic institutes on major college campuses and consulting firms of all sizes that specialize in family owned business issues. Many of them have websites which offer information and free newsletters. There are also publications and books available on a myriad of topics of interest to family-owned businesses. What won’t work here is the ostrich approach. No family-owned business operates "just like any other business."

You cannot pretend that it doesn’t matter that your son is the Production Manager. It matters to you and it matters to every employee in the business. There are challenges if he’s qualified for the position and even greater challenges if he’s not. Are family members who are well qualified for their roles today equally qualified for the roles they will assume tomorrow?

Unless every one of your employees is a family member, there are particular challenges in attracting and retaining key employees who are not family members. These are difficult issues and they need to be faced dispassionately.

The great business thinker and writer, Peter Drucker, said, "Some family members should be paid to stay away from the business."

Think about it

Is your business family-owned? If it is, are you taking special care of your unique circumstances?

Clip from: Zubi Advertising

"Hispanic Business Is Big Business."

Miami:  This story begins back in Cuba in the 1960s, but we pick it up in 1976 when Tere Zubizarreta started an advertising agency that specialized in crafting messages to Hispanic markets. 

She was a very different kind of revolutionary.  Che Guervara would lust to do what Zubi has done.

Today Zubi Advertising is the largest independent buyer of advertising on Univision. Their success is based upon insight that comes from a deep, empathic understanding of people. You will learn that this advertising agency applies science to lights, cameras and plenty of action.  Plus, we look inside Cuba, marriage, and the dynamics of family business.  It is tough stuff.

Zubi Advertising is the largest privately-held, full-service Hispanic agency in the U.S. with offices in Detroit, Los Angeles, Dallas and San Antonio and over 100 employees.   Their work is to champion and empower other people's dreams. And, Tere Zubizarreta did it in rather extraordinary ways. Tere will always be remembered for trying to give the credit for her work to someone else.

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Zubi Advertising

Joe Zubizaretta, CEO

355 Alhambra Cir., 10th Fl.
Coral Gables, FL 33134

Visit our web site:

Office: 305-448-9824

Business Classification:

Year Founded: 1976

Manage Your Children With Your Head Not Your Heart

HATTIE: Tere's two children work for the agency. Joe Zubizarreta focuses on clients.

JOE ZUBIZARRETA: I mean, I've got $100,000 in research and $250,000 in production that can be used over time.

HATTIE: A team meets in Joe's office to begin work on Zubi's first Internet client: a Web portal,

Unidentified Woman #1: ...Los Angeles, Miami and New York are the three markets that are...

Unidentified Woman #2: ...the top three markets.

Joe: Most of my job is making sure that our clients are receiving the strategic direction that they need to move their businesses forward. Making sure that the agency has enough volume of revenue coming in in terms of getting new business and making sure our current clients are happy. It’s really sort of a liaison between the client and the agency. There are a lot of people here that expect me to give them direction and leadership and there are a lot of clients that expect me to give them work. So I have to find the happy medium.

HATTIE: Daughter Michelle manages internal processes.

MICHELLE: We really try to stress the fact that every minute of your day counts.

HATTIE: You've got to show your client this is what this person did and how much time they spent.

MICHELLE: Absolutely. Because we've got it--in all of our contracts. And we do it openly and we do it honestly. In all of our contracts, our clients have the right to come in and audit our books.

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