In 1910, Arthur Lacerte began his successful business career by opening a general store in central Canada. He enjoyed his experience so much that he never stopped talking about it — especially to his children and grandchildren, many of whom became entrepreneurs too. In fact, for four generations, almost all of the Lacertes have been paving their own ways — and, with only one exception, with their own capital.

Every generation was offered the same choice: Take over the existing family business or go off on your own and start something new. Every generation chose the latter and succeeded at it. Some highlights:

Arthur Lacerte (1881-1964) ran his store for 40 years with his wife’s help. He told his son, Arcel, that he would match whatever money he earned on his first job (which was teaching English to Indians) to help him start a business.

Arcel (1917-1996) founded five companies, including a general store, a distributor of farming equipment, a farming-equipment manufacturer, a citrus business, and an accounting-and-payroll-services business. First retired at age 27, he sold his accounting-and-payroll-services firm — which had an annual revenue of $5 million and more than 100 employees — to Automatic Data Processing.

Arthur’s grandsons, Larry (b. 1955) and Philip (b. 1946), started Lacerte Software in Long Beach, California. In 1999, the company was sold to Intuit for $400 million cash.

Arthur’s great-grandson, Renee (b. 1967) — with the “money in his back pocket” — started PayCycle, a payroll-services company that has 46 employees and more than 10,000 customers.

If, like the Lacertes, you’re lucky enough to be inspired and supported by family members who have gone before you — and I’m not talking about financial support — you’re much more likely to succeed at any business venture you choose to try. How have your family members inspired and supported your decisions? How can you do that for your children?

(Source: Inc. Magazine)