Family businesses like RJ Balson & Son and John White & Son Limted do buck the trend as they represent the oldest direct lineage family firms in England and Scotland respectively, but for many family firms there are key hurdles they need to clear at the outset.
Clearly, innovation and keeping it fresh and relevant are important and it is also key to make decisions, make them quickly and build on them as the business starts out.
At the start of the business, and having created one I know, things evolve really quickly and it is exciting and fun. The important thing is to make sure that the business retains this essence as it evolves so that apathy and lack of interest does not come to the fore. Continuing to pursue new challenges, introduce new ideas, moving into new areas - they all add to the feeling of growth and will represent new challenges to overcome.
Early stage family businesses are no different and if they are to emulate the likes of Balsons and John White and Sons, they need to build on the momentum they have at the outset, strive for more and evolve each and every day too.
It’s said that 8 to 9 out of every 10 businesses fail inside the first two years. As time wears on to the 4-year mark, another of the 50 percent remaining also end up finding their way to the business graveyard. These and other statistics can easily scare off even the most brave among us. Incompetence, lack of experience and outright incompetence are the 3 biggest reasons cited for business failures that occur outside the startup level (source). The struggles are many, the road long and unsure.