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Last Update: Thursday June 17, 2021

Key Idea: Be Tough on the Next Generation

In the US, 80% to 90% of businesses are considered to be family owned. Only 30% will survive to the 2nd generation, 12% to the 3rd and just 3% to the 4th generation.   More... 

Key Question:


Make sure the younger generation goes through the school of hard knocks.  This is important because family-owned companies create 78% of all jobs in this country.

We met Dina in this episode and we observed that she has the fire to lead this company when her mother, Linda, is ready to step down. Dina has worked in and around the business all her life. She went to college then law school as she wanted a solid education upon which to build.

When she does take over, Opici will be part of that tiny group of companies that succeed under the third generation of leadership.

Q:  Why is it so important that Rose, Hubert and Linda are tough on Dina?

A:  Because we have all seen the indulged children of wealthy people. The children never seem to develop that spine of steel with an ability to bend graciously. Their parents or grandparents learned and earned these special talents by making it through very hard times.

Q: What are the advantages of bringing your children into your business on the bottom rung of the ladder and having them work their way up?

There are several. First, they REALLY learn the business. There’s no way you can do that if you start "at the top." Secondly, by doing every job in the business, they are better and more compassionate managers, fully aware of the challenges faced by each employee. Thirdly, they will find ways of improving the business at each level of operations as they fully participate in it.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, all the other employees will know that the next generation is qualified to lead, that they have survived the internship and are well positioned to be caretakers of the organization.

Think about it

Are your children involved in your business? At what level? Are you preparing them adequately for their future roles?

Clip from: Opici Wine Group's Three Generations

Glen Rock, New Jersey:  One never knows when power, love, and money intersect within a family, how it'll play out. When company founders, Rose and Hubert Opici, thought the next generation was ready to run the company, they retired to Florida.  They were a bit too optimistic. Though from within the family, their new leadership had power and money but not the love that was Rose and Hubert's special ingredient that had nurtured this business into being for over three decades. Luckily, Rose and Hubert were paying attention. They came out of retirement, removed their bad apple, and restored health and vitality to the business.  
The hard lessons learned from that experience steeled the family for the tasks ahead. Their daughter, Linda, became president and they began recruiting strong veteran industry talent. Then to prepare their grandchildren, Dina and Don are getting on the job training from the bottom up.
Learn how a business is built by celebrating life around an evening dinner with family, customers and suppliers. It is a very basic business formula: Know your customers and suppliers well. Get to understand them, like them, and trust them, and the business follows.

This company opened for business in 1933 and you will hear the third generation talking about taking Opici into its second century of operation. 

Go to all the Key Ideas & Videos of this episode...

Opici Wine Group

Linda Opici, President

25 DeBoer Drive
Glen Rock, NJ 07452

Visit our web site:

Office: 2016891200

Business Classification:

Year Founded: 1933

Be Tough on the Next Generation

HATTIE: You married Hubert - and did he ever have a paycheck?

ROSE: No -

HATTIE: And you didn't either?

ROSE: Not in the beginning -- no, we didn't.

HATTIE: How many years do you think you went without taking a regular paycheck?

ROSE: Oh, maybe 10 years. Really -- it seems strange but it was true.

HUBERT: It wasn't easy. I remember when President Eisenhower had his heart attack. I think we owed the bank seven or eight thousand dollars. The girl calls up and says, "you know, your collateral is below, you have to come in and pay us." And then the next week the market came back and President Eisenhower survived and we went on. But that is the way it was then, Italians weren't given much credit.

HATTIE: So whose idea was it to put girls in bikinis on billboards in New Jersey?

ROSE: Me --- that was to get attention.

DINA: I think what I have learned from my grandfather is his business sense... his intelligence regarding how to run a business and how to interact with our suppliers. What I learned from my grandmother is that this business can be softened. It is not all about receiving inventory and billing it out and making sure bills are paid.

LINDA: Even though my parents aren't here, like I can hear them. Then I speak to them all of the time and my dad is like, "Did you do this - did you do this - did you watch this?" I say, "yes -" He is like the extra force behind me, making sure that everything is being done -- every "i" is dotted and "t" is crossed -- everything is just perfectly done.

HATTIE: You can wake up every day and do whatever you want to do. Why are you still going to work?

ROSE: Because I like it. It is satisfaction and entertainment. We are not as serious about it or worry about it as much as we did because we are very lucky to have the children come in remember. And they are doing a good job and we don't have to worry too much anymore.

HUBERT: But I enjoy getting up every morning and going to work. I think, well today I have to go visit this customer or visit that customer or go buy a truck. Or call up some salesman and tell him what is he doing. It is the usual routine of a small business. And that keeps you alert.

LINDA: My mom and dad have done a great job. And I think that we have taken it to another level. And I am positive that Dina and Don will take it to even higher levels.

HUBERT: Dina and Don are coming on stream, one is 28 and the other one is 22. They can go 35 years and it will be 100 years old. That's my goal - that is what I tell them --"Try to make it to 100 years." That's a fourth generation and only 4 percent of family businesses last four generations.

HATTIE: Do you think you and your brother will make it to that 100-year goal that your grandfather has set?

DINA: We are planning the party --- hopefully.

HATTIE:(In the Studio) It seems as if the bigger a business gets the more readily the founder can pin-point the key to success. Rosie, Hubert, Linda and Dina all agree, to grow your company, eat plenty of dinners with customers. We'll see you next time.

P.S. Here's our tip for the 15 million of you who have a one-person company. It's the same advice we're giving everyone today, eat dinner with your customers. If the founder of a company in the three-figure millions can still find time to take a customer to dinner, you can too.

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