Chad Hensley is the co-founder and CEO of Six Brothers Beef Company, a successful Texas-based gourmet meat delivery service. The family-owned company is using technology to revolutionize how consumers buy their meat. With over 12 years of experience running a family business, Chad knows what it takes to run a highly successful family business.
Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I went to Madonna University and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice in 2007. Before founding Six Brothers Beef Company, I had a successful career spanning over five years in various industries. I started my career as a Federal Officer at the United States Customs and Border Protection in 2008.
In 2010, I moved on to work for Sandler & Travis Trade Advisory Services, Inc. as Drawback Analyst. However, I have always dreamed of running my own business. Working for these organizations gave me the necessary managerial skills experience to run my business.
I co-founded the Six Brothers Beef Company in 2011 and served as the company’s president from August 2011. This business was inspired by the understanding that many residents of the Dallas-Fortworth area had no access to local a butcher.
To make things easy and convenient for these families, we embarked on sourcing high-quality meats from various American farmers, ensuring we deliver top-quality cuts at budget-friendly prices as you would get from a neighborhood butcher.
Can you tell us a bit about your family business and your role in it?
My family business is Six Brothers Beef Company, a Texas-based one-stop-shop for gourmet meats. Established in 2011, the company offers an amazing selection of USDA prime and Wangyu beef, gourmet pork and chicken, and fresh seafood. We reach our customers through our website and 17 trucks traversing the DFW metroplex daily.
I serve as the company’s chief executive officer, overseeing daily business operations and leading the management team in critical decision-making.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I liked this meat product, and I thought everyone would like it. We introduced it in the market, but it performed dismally contrary to our expectations. This experience taught me the importance of doing market research and understanding customers’ needs. Just because you like something does not mean that it will sell.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
What sets Six Brothers Beef Company apart is that we offer exceptional value for money by providing the best quality organic, grass-fed, and hormone-free meats at a reasonable and honest price.
Any customer that feels they didn’t receive value for their money can call us, and we will make it right. We deliver our products conveniently, saving customers time at the grocery store. We also source all our products locally, supporting the local community.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
While we don’t have a new project in the offing, we continue to study the market to develop products that will satisfy our customers’ evolving needs.
Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Several people have contributed to my success, from the early stages of my career to what I am today. I am especially grateful to the colleagues and bosses who were bold enough to call me out whenever I was wrong. I understand they wanted the best for me, and they helped shape my leadership skills in a big way.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I love giving back to the community. I have led our company to support local Texas farms by sourcing products from them. I also oversee several CSR initiatives and regularly donate items to charitable causes. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we donated about 5,000 pounds of meat to needy families and organizations.
How do you define a family business? How is a family business different from a regular business?
I understand a family business as a small, close-knit organization where everyone works hard for the common cause of making money, improving our lives, and securing our future generations while solving a problem in society.
A family business is different from a regular basis in that family businesses enjoy a sense of loyalty from both family and non-family staff. Everyone is passionate about the business ideals and is committed to its success.
In your opinion or experience, what are the unique advantages that family owned businesses have?
Family businesses have several advantages over other businesses, and these include:
- Shared values: Besides the joy of working together, you and your family will often share beliefs on how to run the business. This gives your business a higher chance of success.
- Trust: Every business organization requires trust, and it is among the major ingredients of success in family-owned businesses. Thanks to the natural trust among family members, you can discuss issues and disagree more openly and freely and develop great business ideas. Junior members can speak their minds freely, without worrying about losing their jobs.
- Reduced costs: If the business is not doing well, family members can easily make financial sacrifices to save the situation. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we decided to forego some benefits to lower operational costs and keep our family business afloat.
What are the unique drawbacks or blindspots that family owned businesses have?
Some of the notable drawbacks of family-owned businesses are:
- Conflicts of interest: Some family members may focus on their objectives and desires at the expense of their business interests.
- Inflexibility: Instead of adapting to current market trends, some family businesses opt to maintain the status quo based on emotional and sentimental attachments.
- Succession: Limiting business management to only family members can be a huge impediment to utilizing available talent within the business. It is also often challenging for family businesses to implement an effective hand-over to a younger generation when the older one still exists.
What are some of the common mistakes you have seen family businesses make? What would you recommend to avoid those errors?
The most common mistake family businesses make is failing to separate family and business matters. It is common to find disagreement at a family dinner has a significant impact on communication and productivity in the workplace. Family business owners should learn to keep family matters out of the workplace.
Another mistake most family businesses make is appointing family members into roles for which they do not have the necessary skills or training. This can negatively affect the business’s success and result in a frustrating work environment.
What advice would you give to other CEOs or founders of family businesses to help their employees to thrive?
You should let your employees know they are valued, whether family or non-family members.
How do you define “Leadership”? Can you explain what you mean with a story or example?
Leadership involves motivating and influencing others to do their best to achieve business goals. One of the reasons for the success of our family business is that I always keep my team motivated in a bid to meet our targets.
Here is our main question. What are the “5 Things You Need To Run A Highly Successful Family Business”? Please share a story or example for each.
- Have Clear Boundaries
To be successful, you need to set and maintain a clear boundary between family and business. Keep family issues out of the workplace.
- Have a Clear Leadership Structure
The lack of a defined leadership structure is a major cause of conflicts and disputes in family-owned businesses. Spell out how business decisions should be made to avoid disagreements among family members.
- Communication is Key
Maintain clear communication channels between each other. Ensure everyone is on the same page and seek clarification whenever necessary. Don’t judge others based on your knowledge about them.
- Leverage External Talent
There is immense talent out there, so you should not appoint family members to roles they don’t have training or skills for. Recruiting professionals from outside your family can be instrumental to the success of your business.
- Embrace Change
Sticking to old family traditions can negatively impact your business success. While tradition is beneficial for brand recognition, you shouldn’t be reluctant to adapt to changing markets, trends, and technologies. Otherwise, your competitors will have the edge over you.