HATTIE: (Voiceover) Just as you might guess, running a business together can stress the sibling relationship.
HOWARD: Everyone that has a family business I'm sure experiences a certain type of family problems, and everyone that owns businesses with family, you've all got to figure out some way to make it work. For instance, the cricket part and the reptile part are both moving forward in a very good direction. It's just we both disagree on certain aspects of it, but, you know, because we're living in two different countries, neither one of us is involved in the day-to-day activities of the other, so it makes our relationship very, very good.
It's really too bad that not every company that has, you know, a brother-sister or whatever type of relationship can do this. I mean, we do it because it's inherent in being in the reptile business.
HATTIE: And you needed to do it to grow the reptile business. So it's working, working, working. So but when it comes to little things sometimes you disagree a lot, but when it comes to the big idea, the big ideas that you're growing, you're building...
HOWARD: Right. We've never really disagreed on the big ideas. We just disagreed on how to implement them.
HATTIE: So what can we learn from that? What can someone who's running a family business right now learn from that? We all need to learn -- don't sweat the small stuff.
HOWARD: The day-to-day activities, that are small, don't really matter. Don't let that create a problem between you and your brothers or sisters. You should concentrate more on the larger things that really matter in the company, because if you concentrate on every little thing, then you'll never get along, even on the big things, because every time you disagree with little things, you know, there's a little part of you that carries it into the next problem.
HATTIE: Right. Right, right.
(Voiceover) While most of the ideas of the second generation have improved the business, they've made mistakes, too.
What have you tried that hasn't worked?
DAVID: We tried raising mice. And we had the orders for mice, we just couldn't fill the orders because we had difficulty raising the mice. Either this is the wrong climate, either we just couldn't make it click, but that was a considerable investment that did not work out.
HATTIE: Do you mind telling us how much time and how much money you put into that project?
DAVID: I'd say -- well, just in expenses, just like in capital expenditures, we spent about $50,000 for items that we could not use when that venture failed. Now, I did build a building, and fortunately we built it to use as something else if it didn't work out. But it was about $50,000 in wasted items. Labor and time, I couldn't tell you.
HATTIE: You don't want to know.
DAVID: Yeah, I really don't want to know. But, yeah, it's probably approaching about $100,000, I'd say, on that bad call.
HATTIE: But isn't that something that you could teach others, and that is, you have to try a lot of things. Some things are going to work and some things aren't.
DAVID: Yeah, I guess at some point you've got to know when to say "when." We basically attempted to make that work for about two years.