Specialty Fabrics Review March 2020 - 54

FOCUS

BUSINESS

Sustaining a
family business
Richard Seaman's book offers a model for
multigenerational success.
BY REBECCA POST

A

Trust matters
"People buy from people they know
and trust," says Richard Seaman of
family businesses. A 2017 Edelman
Trust Barometer report states that
globally, 75% of people would prefer
to do business with a family business,
and 66% are willing to pay more for a
product and service that comes from a
trusted family business. Of the people
surveyed, 54% said they prefer to be
employed by a family business.
Richard Seaman's book A Vibrant
Vision: The Entrepreneurship of
Multigenerational Family Business is
available on Amazon and at www.
vibrant-vision.com.

n urgency runs through the pages of Richard Seaman's book A Vibrant Vision: The
Entrepreneurship of Multigenerational Family Business. That urgency stems from Seaman's
understanding that few family businesses survive beyond a third generation. Seaman,
the chairman and former CEO of Wooster, Ohio-based Seaman Corp., offers a model to
family-owned businesses for long-term operation-rather than an all-too-common exit
strategy of selling out through a "liquidity event."
Seaman wrote the book over the course of two and a half years, motivated by the lack of
information on growing and sustaining family businesses. "There's a gap out there. There
are no books out there on how to grow a family business to be multigenerational," says
Seaman. "Family business ownership is a privilege and stewardship responsibility, not an
entitlement to an ATM."
Seaman assumed the leadership of his family's business in 1978 after his father, the founder
of the company, died at age 55. Over the years, Seaman increased the company's annual sales
from $10 million to $200 million. He notes that Seaman Corp. is a U.S.-based company that
actually exports industrial textiles into China.
"I wanted a business that would survive me," says Seaman. He writes that a "family business
survival ratio" is 30:10:3, according to a 2018 Ernst and Young Global Family Business Survey.
The survey states that an estimated 30 percent of family businesses survive to a second generation,
10 survive to a third generation, and only 3 percent survive to a fourth generation and beyond.
Seaman sees family businesses as the backbone of the economy. In North America, eight
out of 10 businesses are family owned, generating 64 percent of the gross domestic product,
estimated at $5.9 billion, according to the Family Business Review. Family business are not
just small mom-and-pop shops; some of the largest businesses in the U.S. are family owned,
including Milliken & Co., Walmart and Ford Motor Co.
Seaman's parents, Norman and Irene Seaman, started the business in 1949 with two
sewing machines, stitching lace around doll diapers. "My parents were children of the Great
Depression," explains Seaman. Their goals were to acquire enough cut and sew work to feed
the family and build a business where their five children could work. Norman, possessing
an entrepreneurial and curious mind, began mixing formulations in the family kitchen that
over the years resulted in vinyl-coated industrial fabrics for truck tarps, architectural and
environmental textiles, single-ply membrane roofing and military applications.
THE DNA OF INNOVATION
This innovative spirit for product development naturally became a big part of Seaman Corp.'s
DNA. But over time, Seaman also recognized the importance of benchmarking what other
successful companies are doing. One of Seaman Corp.'s current strategic objectives is to have
20 percent of its sales come from products that did not exist five years ago, a metric derived
from benchmarking Rubbermaid goals.
Seaman also writes about the value of articulating a company's "secret sauce"-that is, a
company's key advantages. In Seaman Corp.'s case, five basic technology platforms form that
secret sauce: fabric formation, compounding, coating, finishing and fabrication. Seaman
visualizes these platforms as a ribbon of DNA that incorporates materials, processes and
intellectual property.

54 REVIEW MARCH 2020

0320RV_p50-59.indd 54

2/12/20 3:06 PM


http://www.vibrant-vision.com

Specialty Fabrics Review March 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Specialty Fabrics Review March 2020

Specialty Fabrics Review March 2020 - Cover1
Specialty Fabrics Review March 2020 - Cover2
Specialty Fabrics Review March 2020 - 1
Specialty Fabrics Review March 2020 - 2
Specialty Fabrics Review March 2020 - 3
Specialty Fabrics Review March 2020 - 4
Specialty Fabrics Review March 2020 - 5
Specialty Fabrics Review March 2020 - 6
Specialty Fabrics Review March 2020 - 7
Specialty Fabrics Review March 2020 - 8
Specialty Fabrics Review March 2020 - 9
Specialty Fabrics Review March 2020 - 10
Specialty Fabrics Review March 2020 - 11
Specialty Fabrics Review March 2020 - 12
Specialty Fabrics Review March 2020 - 13
Specialty Fabrics Review March 2020 - 14
Specialty Fabrics Review March 2020 - 15
Specialty Fabrics Review March 2020 - 16
Specialty Fabrics Review March 2020 - 17
Specialty Fabrics Review March 2020 - 18
Specialty Fabrics Review March 2020 - 19
Specialty Fabrics Review March 2020 - 20
Specialty Fabrics Review March 2020 - 21
Specialty Fabrics Review March 2020 - 22
Specialty Fabrics Review March 2020 - 23
Specialty Fabrics Review March 2020 - 24
Specialty Fabrics Review March 2020 - 25
Specialty Fabrics Review March 2020 - 26
Specialty Fabrics Review March 2020 - 27
Specialty Fabrics Review March 2020 - 28
Specialty Fabrics Review March 2020 - 29
Specialty Fabrics Review March 2020 - 30
Specialty Fabrics Review March 2020 - 31
Specialty Fabrics Review March 2020 - 32
Specialty Fabrics Review March 2020 - 33
Specialty Fabrics Review March 2020 - 34
Specialty Fabrics Review March 2020 - 35
Specialty Fabrics Review March 2020 - 36
Specialty Fabrics Review March 2020 - 37
Specialty Fabrics Review March 2020 - 38
Specialty Fabrics Review March 2020 - 39
Specialty Fabrics Review March 2020 - 40
Specialty Fabrics Review March 2020 - 41
Specialty Fabrics Review March 2020 - 42
Specialty Fabrics Review March 2020 - 43
Specialty Fabrics Review March 2020 - 44
Specialty Fabrics Review March 2020 - 45
Specialty Fabrics Review March 2020 - 46
Specialty Fabrics Review March 2020 - 47
Specialty Fabrics Review March 2020 - 48
Specialty Fabrics Review March 2020 - 49
Specialty Fabrics Review March 2020 - 50
Specialty Fabrics Review March 2020 - 51
Specialty Fabrics Review March 2020 - 52
Specialty Fabrics Review March 2020 - 53
Specialty Fabrics Review March 2020 - 54
Specialty Fabrics Review March 2020 - 55
Specialty Fabrics Review March 2020 - 56
Specialty Fabrics Review March 2020 - 57
Specialty Fabrics Review March 2020 - 58
Specialty Fabrics Review March 2020 - 59
Specialty Fabrics Review March 2020 - 60
Specialty Fabrics Review March 2020 - 61
Specialty Fabrics Review March 2020 - 62
Specialty Fabrics Review March 2020 - 63
Specialty Fabrics Review March 2020 - 64
Specialty Fabrics Review March 2020 - Cover3
Specialty Fabrics Review March 2020 - Cover4
https://www.nxtbook.com/ata/specialtyfabricsreview/specialty-fabrics-review-october-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/ata/specialtyfabricsreview/specialty-fabrics-review-september-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/specialty-fabrics-review-august-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/specialty-fabrics-review-july-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/specialty-fabrics-review-june-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/specialty-fabrics-review-buyers-guide-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/specialty-fabrics-review-may-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/specialty-fabrics-review-april-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/specialty-fabrics-review-march-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/specialty-fabrics-review-february-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/specialty-fabrics-review-january-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/specialty-fabrics-review-december-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/specialty-fabrics-review-november-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/specialty-fabrics-review-october-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/specialty-fabrics-review-september-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/specialty-fabrics-review-august-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/specialty-fabrics-review-july-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/specialty-fabrics-review-june-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/specialty-fabrics-review-buyers-guide-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/specialty-fabrics-review-may-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/specialty-fabrics-review-april-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/specialty-fabrics-review-march-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/specialty-fabrics-review-february-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/0121RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/1220RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/1120RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/1020RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/0920RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/0820RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/0720RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/0620RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/RVBG20
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/0520RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/0420RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/0320RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/0220RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/0120RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/1219RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/1119RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/1019RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/0919RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/0819RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/0719RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/0619RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/RVBG19
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/0519RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/0419RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/0319RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/0219RV_Feb
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/0119RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/1218RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/1118RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/1018RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/0918RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/0818RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/0718RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/0618RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/0518RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/RVBG18
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/0418RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/0318RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/0218RV
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/specialtyfabricsreview/0118RV
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com