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KEEPING IT IN THE FAMILY: Annual conference helps family owned businesses thrive

The annual Resnick-Wynn Family Business Conference at FGCU aims to help local family-owned businesses carry on through generations.
Posted at 3:43 PM, Feb 29, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-29 15:43:42-05

In the U.S. nearly all business is family business.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, about 90% of American businesses are family-owned or controlled.

Yet only a third of all family businesses are passed along to the next generation.

Those are statistics John Resnick is hoping to change.

“Southwest Florida is rich with family businesses. But there’s no formal education you can turn to, to learn how to navigate from generation to generation,” said Resnick, co-founder of the Resnick-Wynn Family Business Conference.

Thursday was the third annual conference, which features family owned businesses from throughout southwest Florida.

The goal is to network with other business owners, share success stories and cautionary tales.

Resnick says one of the biggest challenges for business owners is stepping aside to let another generation lead.

“It takes the older generations willing to let go and allow the younger generations to come in with their contributions. So, each generation has to respect their strengths and weaknesses,” said Resnick.

For this year’s Keynote Speaker, passing the business torch has become a family tradition.

Jonathan Tisch, Co-Chairman of Loews Corporation, was the third generation of his family to run the luxury hotel brand.

His nephew now runs the day-to-day operations.

“Family businesses are complicated. They’re a beast onto themselves,” Tisch said.

“It’s a very difficult challenging world, where things are changing rapidly. I say that everyone is in the technology business nowadays, because technology touches everything that we do.”