The Importance of Family Owned Businesses

It can be said the family businesses serve as the brains behind innovation, the heart behind local philanthropy, and the nerve system of our entire free enterprise system.  Over 90% of all US firms are family owned.  They employ 62% of the country’s work force and create 78% of the new jobs.  Furthermore, they contribute some 64% of our total GDP.

A recent University of Connecticut study showed that 79% of family owned businesses incorporate socially responsible practices into their business.  And 80% of them emphasize family or core values in the operation of their firms.  They are less likely to lay people off when times are bad, looking instead for other ways to keep the “family” together such as reduced work hours, etc.

We, too, suggest that companies that have strong core values have an advantage in the market place.   As Jim Collins in his Harvard Business Review article “Building Your Company’s Vision” states, “Core values are the essential and enduring tenets of an organization.  A small set of timeless guiding principles, core values require no external justification; they have intrinsic value and importance to those inside the organization.”

Family businesses often grasp this concept well.  When people are hired who share the core values of the business, its culture is strengthened.  When people are hired for experience only, businesses can run into value conflicts.  Keeping US family businesses at the foundation of our economy requires a defined set of core values. Contact us if you would like help defining and/or getting your employees to live your core values.

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