Family ties can create a formidable force within a business and family firms are notorious for their long term thinking, passion for what they do and drive to fulfil everything that comes from having your name above the door.
Having said that, there are plenty of examples too of families where relationships have broken down and the business has ceased or been sold.
Succession planning remains one of the main challenges for the family business sector and introduce the right frameworks and governance structures to deal with emotional issues that arise and could otherwise derail progress.
The burden of responsibility is often a driver for sustainability and resilience as many a leader will have been heard say 'it is not going to stop under my watch' and so the pressure to continue builds.
I am a strong advocate of the values that underpin family firms and when channelled in the right direction with the right leader at the helm they can be an unrivalled force. Family firms take the long term view and in many cases act as stewards for the next generation but that does not make them dinosaurs - they plan for the future, recognise and address the needs of the business and the successful family firms continually innovate and improve the ways that they do business to give them the best chances of success in the future.
Family businesses boast many benefits, from having an integral long-term focus, to company loyalty and even a greater level of trust from the outside world. Yet, with family, allowances can be made which would not be permitted in a non-family setting, even if losses to the company are incurred as a result. During widespread economic decline, the characteristics of family businesses are what keep them going strong, while this very nature is also what can cause missed opportunities during economic booms. In essence, the strength of a family business is also its weakness. “They really have the disadvantage with the dark side of their advantage”, Kachaner concluded. For the most successful examples, it is knowing these flaws that can allow mistakes to be avoided and the best of both worlds to be achieved.