Specialty Fabrics Review February 2020 - 36

There are plenty of family members
of founder Marianne Long working at
Marianne's Rentals (staff members,
top; a Marianne's project, lower), but
the company is about more than just the
Long family. "There are 65 other families
here who depend on this place for
their paycheck," says general manager
Jennifer Rodriguez, Long's daughter.
Photos: Marianne's Rentals.

36 REVIEW FEBRUARY 2020

CONTINUE OR NOT
The first part of any discussion, says Miller,
should be about whether the family really
wants to continue the business when the
time comes for a change in leadership.
"Many founders started their business
as a way to make a good living, and it
doesn't necessarily have to go to the next
generation to be a success," he explains.
"The family needs to have a good reason
for wanting to be in business together.
Next-generation family members may
feel obligated or entitled to join the family
firm, but they haven't thought or talked
about why they might want to be in
business with a sister, brother or cousin.
"Then you need to work really hard to
create a shared vision, to get clear about
where you want to take the business,"
Miller adds. "Family businesses often fail
to succeed from one generation to the next
because there is no shared vision for the
future of the firm."

Jennifer Rodriguez has been through
that process at Marianne's Rentals,
Oklahoma City, Okla., the largest special
events rental company in the state. She's
the general manager at the company,
which was founded by her mother,
Marianne Long, who is still president.
"I told my mom we needed a plan
done while she is still alive, so her wishes
could be honored," says Rodriguez. "If
something happened to her, it would
have been a nightmare. I didn't really care
what her specific wishes were; we just
needed them on paper." They created an
ownership pool and the understanding
that Rodriguez would eventually take
over the firm.
And it wasn't all just about Long's
family either, adds Rodriguez, although
her husband, children and other relatives
work there. "There are 65 other families
here who depend on this place for their
paycheck," she says.



Specialty Fabrics Review February 2020

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