Founder: William Mars.
Headquarters: Findlay, Ohio.
Key family members active in the company: William Mars, founder, CEO; Linda Mars, office manager.
What it does: Endurica designs durability simulation software for elastomers. It also offers fatigue testing of elastomers, finite element analysis and consulting services. Endurica said its solutions shorten and de-risk the task of assuring design durability, and that its solutions simulate design options and performance under realistic conditions, before its customers invest in “build-and-break” program capstone testing.
Markets served: Developers who need to achieve or assure durability of an elastomer, serving customers in: automotive, oil and gas, medical devices, civil and consumer products.
Number of generations involved in the business: One.
What are the strengths of a family owned business? A family owned business can have integrity to its purpose and core values that is perhaps harder to get from businesses controlled by diverse interests. We can be strategic, flexible, responsive and committed in ways that are not possible in more complicated organizations.
What are the challenges of a family owned business? For us, the first few transitions of responsible growth were challenging. When we first started, things were relatively simple (it was just me and my wife). My wife did all of the accounting. Eventually, that role grew more complex, and we had to hire it out. It was stressful for awhile before we made that decision. We knew pretty quickly, though, that it was the right decision once that particular stress was resolved. Each new hire has felt like a huge, high-stakes decision. The company put a lot of thought into weighing the risks and rewards and timing, defining goals for the new role, and finding a person who can be successful in it. In a small business, it's important that employees know you've thought about the security of their positions. Investing in key man insurance was important for us in getting that part right.
Something you may not know about the company: Our oldest software licensees have been with us now for five years. We are very proud to have 100 percent annual license renewal. We have trained more than 150 engineers in our methods in North America, Europe and Asia. We're on track to test our 100th material in 2016.
What advice would you offer a young entrepreneur who wants to start a family run business? The world is drowning in unmet needs. Starting a business is a great way to do something about it. Expect to work harder and to commit more. Make sure your spouse is “all in” with you up front. Make sure that you both feel a strong sense of purpose and passion about the business. Make sure you really are in a position to give customers something they can't get somewhere else. Make sure you have the support of people who know the parts of the business that you don't know. The highs and lows are bigger when you are in business. Make sure you've got roots deep enough to weather the storms and ride the highs.