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Last Update: Wednesday June 23, 2021

Key Idea: Keep Your Family Engaged

Your family should be in the front row cheering you on.  Glenn and Wanda have cleared the way for their extended family to take over.

Key Question:


Keep your family close to the business even if they don't work there.

Q:  Do small business owners leave their work at the office?

A:  Of course not.  If you study our over 200 episodes here at Small Business School you will meet over 200 workaholics.  However, we think this is good.  This is good because we are convinced that we all do what we would rather do than not do.  Most owners start a business around their interests so work is really play.

The rub comes when the family is left out.  Wanda, Glenn's wife,  works with him and that can make it easier for his family to receive information.  The key is to talk about what you do and share some of the problems and some of the successes.  We know of owners who have found themselves in financial trouble and they couldn't bring themselves to tell their families.  This will ruin your mental health.

Think about it

Does your family understand your business?  Do they know when you're doing well or if you're having problems?  Do you think that what you do is boring to people who are not involved in it  day-to-day?  Does your spouse tell you that he or she is proud of you?  Do your kids ask to visit your office?  Do they ask you questions about the business and how it works?

Clip from: Automated Food Systems

He invented a machine, then created, then captured his market.

Duncanville, Texas: This is the story of a nightmare that turns into  the American dream.  It's a classic story of a small business owner.  Glenn Walser was fired from his job. Not for goofing off,  he was fired for demanding too much.  He is a man of principle.

Getting fired on principle -- I had an argument with the boss -- has a long tradition in the USA. Many of us just have to work for ourselves. Small business owners often say, "I'm unemployable! "   It is not that it is has to be my way, but if it can be a better --  faster and/or cheaper with higher quality -- then, let's do it!  Many of us started our business to vindicate that belief; we needed to prove to ourselves that we were right. 

So, meet Glenn Walser.  He had an idea for a machine to automate labor-intense processes, but most people just  laughed at him.  

In 1976 Glenn started this business on a dream and a prayer, created a new industry, and then became the world's leader within it.  With one investor who believed he could do it, he went about developing the first automated corndog system. Now, the Walsers have moved out of the passing lane to enjoy a little more of life as it is given while their nephew runs the company day-to-day.

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Automated Foods, Incorporated

Glenn Walser, founder

1000 E. Lofland Drive
Waxahachie, TX 75165

Visit our web site:


Business Classification:
Food processing, Manufacturing

Year Founded: 1976

Keep Your Family Engaged

WANDA: I've been here full time half the time, but let me tell you something about a family business. If your family has a business, it doesn't matter whether you're working there every day or not, you're working there and you're with it 24 hours a day. And you eat, sleep, drink and live it, just like whoever is over there does.

And you worry about it and you wonder about it. And so if you have a family business, you're never separate from that business even if you're not over there all day. So when I came over here, it was with the understanding that if we could not get along, if that was too much, then I wouldn't be here.

HATTIE: Is the wall between your office and Glenn's big enough?

WANDA: Not if either of us wants to scream. I think it's a very good arrangement, but I think it takes certain personalities and I think you have to be prepared for fireworks, and I think you have to try to understand that those things are going to happen and that certainly, there has to be some hierarchy of responsibility and command, as it were. But truly, as one of our friends in Australia once said, `If one of you has to be right all of the time and the other one always has to be wrong, then one of you is redundant.' In other words, you need to give and take, you know?

Sometimes I'm right and sometimes Glenn is. And if you can't get on with that, then one of you is not needed. We're satisfied that we're moving in the right direction.

HATTIE: You're growing.

WANDA: We're growing. And this year, we will be introducing a couple of new niche lines which have nothing to do with corn dogs.

HATTIE: You're kidding. And you're not going to tell us what it is?


HATTIE: I can't stand it.

GLENN: The future holds shish kebabs, it holds stick inserters into all kinds of food articles that are going to really change the way Americans eat, because food on a stick is so clean and so good and so quick. And it has all the attributes of what people walking around, busy, fast, need. And that's our market. We don't really sell our machinery to a corporation that's a food plant. We sell it to the people that are eating their product. We've got large corporations in America and we've got small business. The small businesses are like ants up beside the lumbering giants. But the ants move mountains. And ants can do much more than the lumbering giant.

(Voiceover) I've only just begun.

(this episode of the show, #1503, comes to an end)

HATTIE: (Voiceover) Want to ship your products around the world, as Wanda and Glenn do? Here are some places to go for help: Office of International Trade,; the Export Opportunity Hotline at 1-800-USA-XPORT, (800-243-7232); you can always reach our friend Abby at export Read about others like Wanda and Glenn who see the world as their marketplace.

Office of International Trade:

Don't forget, stick to your niche and you can get rich.

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