This family business turned employee-owned keeps the values on which it was based.
The Greenery family, (with over 700+ employee owners) The Greenery, Inc.
Lee, your parents started the family business, it transitioned to employee-owned. As CEO, what is the most gratifying thing about this process? The most gratifying thing, undoubtedly, is seeing people grow within our company and have successful careers. It’s also nice to see someone that may not have pictured themselves retiring from work do so in a pretty comfortable financial position.
What would you say is the main challenge in running an employee-owned (ESOP) business?
I think the biggest challenge of running an employee-owned business is that it has more to do with teaching the employees how they stand to benefit from an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP). We try to show how they can influence the success of the company, which in turn benefits them in the long run. If the value of the company goes up, then their retirement account goes up.
What piece of advice would you give to others aspiring to go employee-owned?
The most important thing about operating a successful business is surrounding yourself with good people and building a good team that has a strong sense of ownership in the company.
What three lessons have you learned from starting a family business?
1. Learn to let go. With any business, it is hard to let some traditions go that may harm the company. Some of the things we have done in the past that were successful for many years are not now. When you come to that realization, make the change sooner than later.
2. Treat others how you want to be treated, a.k.a. “The Golden Rule.” It is pretty simple, and it works for family as well as co-workers, customers, vendors and anyone else you run into. If you want to be a successful business that lasts long-term, this is an essential rule to be followed.
3. Concentrate on what the company does really well and that provide great returns. Don’t chase other work that may not be as profitable.
Meet Carlos Flores, Lee Edwards, Melissa Brock and Desmond Ferguson
Connect: email@example.com, #thegreeneryinc, @thegreeneryinc, the-greenery-inc
Come in: 93 Arrow Road, Hilton Head