Working Together in a Family-owned Business and a Family-founded Nonprofit with Denny and Kim Fuller

Owner's Corner by SYM Financial Advisors

Mar 28 2023 • 43 mins

Denny and Kim Fuller are the former owners of Little Crow Foods, a food company established in 1903. Denny and Kim became the fourth-generation owners of Little Crow Foods after acquiring it in 1983 and managed its operations until the company’s exit from the food industry in 2012. They have been volunteering their time and entrepreneurial skills to the Humanity and Hope United Foundation following the sale of Little Crow Foods. Founded by Denny and Kim’s son, Riley Fuller, the Humanity and Hope United Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating sustainable change in underserved communities in Honduras.

Denny and Kim join me today to share the lessons they’ve learned from managing Little Crow Foods for over 29 years. They discuss what it was like for Denny to transition from working in a large company to running a small, family-owned business like Little Crow Foods. They explain how they prepared to sell Little Crow Foods and what their life was like after exiting the business. They also highlight the importance of succession and exit planning and describe how the Humanity and Hope United Foundation has made an impact in the Honduran communities they serve.

“Hope is the fuel for sustainable change.” - Denny Fuller

This week on The Owner’s Corner:

  • Denny and Kim’s background and work with Little Crow Foods
  • Lessons Denny learned from transitioning from a large to a smaller company
  • A brief history of Little Crow Foods
  • External challenges Denny and Kim had to overcome in the grocery industry
  • Creating the first pancake mixes
  • The sale of Little Crow Foods in 2012
  • The challenges and lessons Denny and Kim found in buying and running a family-owned business
  • Defining boundaries and running a family-owned business as a couple
  • Their volunteer work for Humanity and Hope United Foundation
  • The impact of Humanity and Hope United Foundation’s work in Honduras
  • The challenge of raising funds for a non-profit
  • How they transferred their entrepreneurship skills from Little Crow Foods to non-profit work
  • The beginning of the Humanity and Hope United Foundation

Our Favorite Quotes:

  • “When you're in the food industry you get a lot of challenges—from marketing to regulations.” - Seth Whicker
  • “Always have a plan in place. You hope you never have to use it, but if you do you’ll know you’ve got one in place to protect you—especially when your wealth is wrapped around your business.” - Seth Whicker
  • “We had the rule that we wouldn’t talk about business when we’re at home. When we were at home, we were at home, and I’m glad we had that rule.” - Kim Fuller

Connect with Humanity and Hope United:

About SYM Financial and The Owner’s Corner Podcast

The Owner’s Corner is a show for business owners. In each episode, host and financial planner Seth Whicker sits down with business owners and the professionals that serve them to talk about what it takes to build a business. Our guests come from many industries and walks of life to share their biggest wins, mistakes made along the way, and their thinking about the all-important exit planning.

Email Seth at swhicker@sym.com with questions, comments, and to schedule a one-on-one conversation.

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