FAMILY BUSINESS LESSONS
Article | August 2015 | by Amal Masri
To many, the phrase “family business” connotes a small or midsized company with a local focus and a familiar set of problems, such as squabbles over succession. While plenty of mom-and-pop firms certainly fit that description, it doesn’t reflect the powerful role that family-controlled enterprises play in the world economy. Not only do they include sprawling corporations such as Walmart, Samsung, Tata Group, and Porsche, but they account for more than 30% of all companies with sales in excess of $1 billion, according to the Boston Consulting Group’s analysis.
Conventional wisdom holds that the unique ownership structure of family businesses gives them a long-term orientation that traditional public firms often lack. But beyond that, little is known about exactly what makes family businesses different. Some studies suggest that, on average, they outperform other businesses over the long term—but other studies prove the opposite.