By Sasha Manley
The average person will spend over 90,000 hours working in their lifetime, according to LinkedIn.com. These hours make up about one-third of your life. With so much of our careers dedicated to this time, surrounding yourself with an authentic family dynamic can mean better commitments, security, pride, trust and mutual long-term visions.
There are currently over 5 million family-owned businesses in the U.S. These companies make up nearly 80 percent of job creation, according to according to Family Enterprise USA. Working with family also promotes transgenerational entrepreneurship, which results in the continued legacy of independent business among families.
Means Income Tax Service is an example of a company that counts on family members to contribute to its success. Charlottean Nathaniel Means has served Charlotte area residents for over 50 years. Means and his niece Jamila Lindsay spoke with us recently about owning a business that relies on family involvement to run smoothly.
Means Income Tax provides tax preparation, payroll and business return services. Before starting the company, Means, an Air Force veteran, was an auto mechanic and owned a mini-mart and club in Concord.
The business began as a partnership with a friend but has turned into a company with his relatives. Current employees include his sister Myrtle Means who manages payroll services; his sisters Janette Dubose and Carol Ford who serve as front desk administrators; and his niece Trina Smith who works as a tax representative.
It’s almost become a tradition to work in the business. As a result, several family members have worked with the company at some point in their careers. Former employees and family members include his late brother James Means; his nieces Javonna Martin, Nneka Means, Tonya Dubose and Jamila Lindsay.
With any business, there will be plenty of ups and downs. There is a deeper dynamic when working with family. Means says it hasn’t been a problem. Everyone understands communication is essential for a successful business. It is also equally important to have healthy relationships with family members, explaining, “Being able to have a workforce you can trust and that you know will work as hard as you do to maintain the family business.”
The digital age has helped many current businesses get the word out about their services, but keeping the longevity before these modern conveniences results in two things; Professional service and word of mouth. These two key elements have kept returning clients and new referrals for over five decades.
Clients have become family too. Means shares he goes and picks up documents from those who can’t make it to the office and does out-of-state taxes when needed. “I love helping people,” he shared with a smiling face.
Throughout the year, they provide tax/homeowner seminars. These meetings assist at-risk homeowners needing assistance before foreclosing.
Looking ahead, Means plans to keep the business in the family. After working in the tax business for half a century, Means offers some sage advice: “Communicate. Nothing will happen that you cannot overcome. Treat the business like any other business and work hard. Always communicate, and everything will be okay.”
Contact Means Income Tax Service at 704-333-1831 or visit them on Facebook.