December 01st 2016

Family business.

Leadership | Succession | Chances | Challenges
Martin Wetscher, CEO of Wetscher GmbH and Avanti Furniture Market

In the framework of the MCI Alumni & Friends lecture series, the Entrepreneurial School® was happy to welcome Martin Wetscher, head of the eponymous furnishing and planning house. In his guest lecture, the entrepreneur addressed the peculiarities of the Austrian furnishing business and explained what makes Wetscher GmbH, a family-run business in the Zillertal, special.

Wetscher’s business, founded in 1912 and today run by the fourth generation of his family, belongs to the exceptions: only twelve percent of family-run businesses manage to survive for so long. Wetscher’s accomplishment is partly due to the fact that all family members have learned their craft from scratch, for one of the success factors for family businesses consists in being able to control and contribute to the performance of the business oneself. This principle applies to both the management and employees.

A family-run business has a close relationship with its employees: as Wetscher pointed out, many second-generation employees are employed in his business. Such a close relation between employer and employee is both a boon and a bane. Accordingly, all decisions have to take into account what would be the best for the current and the next generation of employees alike. Thus, the implementation of changes and new structures necessary for business survival require a high level of sensitivity.

In order to maintain its uniqueness, a business must, as Wetscher explained, also optimize its relation to the customer. His company has recognized the current trend towards individual living early and, thus, supports and motivates its employees to develop individual living spaces in close cooperation with their customers.

The lecture was hosted by Anita Zehrer, head of the MCI Family Business Center, a joint initiative of MCI and the Tyrolean Economic Chamber. Wetscher’s talk was followed by a lively discussion on the peculiarities of family-run businesses, ranging from management issues to aspects of generational transfer and the specific challenges faced by family businesses.

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