I had the privilege this week of visiting Pitman Farms, the company behind Mary’s Free Range Chicken. Though I didn’t meet Mary or her husband Rick, I did get to sit down with their son Ben. He told us about the family business, including their successes and their lessons. He shared with me this video.
Some of my favorite moments in the video:
- When Rick Pitman said, “Our goal is to sell chickens, but our purpose is to create jobs.” He’s in an area of intensely concentrated poverty and high unemployment, and the risk taken by this family of entrepreneurs is making life better for hundreds of workers and their families.
- Mary’s connection to her customers via her phone number on the bags. the feedback she gets directly from their customers is an extremely effective form of market research.
- Rick didn’t wait when he heard about the plant available in Sanger. I’m sure he worked out the numbers, but he didn’t take a year to game out every scenario before pulling the trigger on the location.
- This is a great reminder that family business is personal, and the successes and failures of family business are very personally felt.
If you want to read more about family business, I recommend buying a copy of Perpetuating the Family Business: 50 Lessons Learned From Long Lasting, Successful Families in Business by John Ward or The BraveHeart Exit: 7 Steps to Your Family Business Legacy by my friend Randy Long.