Family businesses can often have a
reputation as having friendlier, more devoted employees—even though
it may not feel like that when your family can’t agree on who’s
on call that weekend. But this strong bond that ties a family to
their business creates a sense of ownership and pride that may even
Family businesses should recognize the competitive
advantage of this legacy when promoting their business. If you run a
family business, you may be able to use some of the following
benefits unique to multi-generational family companies to
differentiate your business and maintain a significant competitive
Family loyalty: Family members in
business may demonstrate a greater sense of loyalty to each other and
to the business. Family members may also tend to be more committed to
the success of the business and are more passionate about what the
business stands for.
Legacy: Families in business have an
opportunity to create a lasting legacy that can provide a sense of
accomplishment and pride. Subsequent generations may be strongly
motivated to build on the efforts of their forefathers and become
stewards of the family business and carry it to new heights in the
name of the family.
Access to labour: Multi-generational
family businesses may have access to a labour pool of family members
who may be more flexible in taking on different job functions and
filling in for others — anything to help out and be part of the
Access to capital: Family businesses
may be able to rely on the family as a source of capital for funding
business activities. This could be a significant competitive
advantage, especially when times are tough and funding is tight.
Key employees: Key employees from
outside the family often appreciate and enjoy the unique work
environment created by a family business. The workplace tends to be
less formal, more hands on and more personable. Many key employees
are sometimes like extended family and develop a strong bond with the
family and the family business.
Patience: Family businesses may tend to
be less driven by short-term financial results and are prepared to
sacrifice short-term gains for the achievement of longer-term goals.
This flexibility allows these businesses to align the deployment of
resources with their strategic objectives.
Values: Family business owners have the
opportunity to teach and pass along their business and personal
values to the next generation. Family members can take pride in
upholding these family values and build them into their day-to-day
work and personal activities.
Career opportunities: Many family
business owners pride themselves on being able to provide family
members with career opportunities. The family business can be a great
training ground for family members who aspire to pursue business
careers elsewhere or within the family business.
Relationships: The opportunity to work
with family members to pursue common business goals can be a very
rewarding experience. Years of bonding among family members can
create a strong sense of belonging and interdependency. Effectively
managing these family values can go a long way in ensuring long-term
family and business harmony.
Succession: As well as providing career
opportunities, family businesses may also favour passing the business
along to the next generation of family members. The opportunity to be
an owner of the family business can be both motivating and rewarding.
Community and philanthropy: Many family
businesses are also active in their communities – just think of
your neighbourhood and the families that make it strong! Both the
community and your family business can benefit from mutual support.
Family businesses that are able to take
advantage of these unique attributes and leverage them into the
business with the potential to grow value. That’s why planning
succession in a family business is important – it can harness these
benefits and secure success for many generations.