Family Business

Start with the Business of Family

There are a couple of reasons why I choose to focus on the dynamics of family business.  The first is due to my own personal experience being a part of the rich legacy of my family’s business – one that has extended across several continents and generations.  Family businesses make up most of the business types in first world countries, with family firms representing 80 percent of all firms in the United States, 85 percent of all firms in the European Union, 90 percent of companies in the Middle East, and 99 percent in Japan, to name a handful.

These businesses aren’t all “mom and pop” shops, either. A Forbes article written in 2015 listed some of the largest family businesses at the time which included big-name brands like Wal-Mart, Ford, and Tyson.  The list went on to include other brands – some of which may not be as widely known, but still bring in billions of dollars in revenue. A critical point was made later in the article as to how these family businesses continued to be so successful.  “‘They’re really superior in leading in generational transition,’ says Peter Englisch, the global family business leader of Ernst & Young’s Global Family Business Center of Excellence…‘It’s an amazing fact because 44% of firms in the [Family]500 [Index] are owned by the 4th generation or older; this is in contrast to less than 5% of firms overall.’”

The article goes on to state the most important part of this success: “These are families that have always found a way to get along — and have done it for a long time. The average company on the Family 500 Index has been in business for 88 years, though the mean is skewed by some impressively-longstanding old-timers. The oldest firm, the Takenaka Corporation, has been around since 1610, when a shrine and temple carpenter set up shop in Nagoya. The Takenakas still run the engineering and construction company today — the family has been able to overcome business, political and family threats for more than four centuries.”

The Core of the Business: Family

It’s difficult to maintain a successful business.  It’s difficult to maintain a successful family. Imagine the difficulty of maintaining a successful family business!  To work and be together as a family, both immediate and extended, is hard work. And to actually continue those relationships and that closeness is even harder work. To do that across different branches of the family in multiple generations is even more difficult, yet it’s possible when you have a strong family.

They will be there for you like no one else. Even if there are times when things are not all that rosy,you will have people that will stand by you through the worst life can throw at you, because they’re your blood, and that bond is unshakable.

Keeping up with family and communicating, reinforcing  those bonds that are dying in so many parts of the world—is so important to understand. You must be able to forgive the person in front of you, you must be there for them when they need you, and hopefully that drives them to want and do the same.

No matter the size of your family business – from a neighborhood store to the Global 500 –  success will stem from the relationships of those who build them. Learn more about how to successfully manage your family business by visiting