The perks and snags of family business

Did you know that about 80% of all businesses in North America are family-owned and operated? And that family-owned businesses contribute to 50% to 70% of Canada’s annual GDP? So, chances are good you could run a family business one day, or at least entertain the idea. Here are some perks and snags of a family-run small business.

Family business perks

  • You can count on family – family relationships are networks of support, assistance and advice.
  • Families often have shared values, loyalty and commitment.
  • You’ve got access to a source of investment capital – “love money.”
  • The focus is on the long term, instead of on short-term profitability and the sale of the business.
  • Family businesses are more profitable and enjoy a longer life than non-family businesses.
  • Family members may be more willing to make financial sacrifices than non-family members, for the sake of the company.

Family business snags

  • Emotions can get in the way of business and your workplace may become a whole new location for dinner table arguments.
  • Many family businesses employ those who aren’t in the family. However, there is a high turnover rate of non-family member employees.
  • Growth can be a problem if some family members are unwilling to put profits back into the business.
  • Succession planning – finding the right person to take over – can be tricky. Emotions, pride and hesitation over discussing a relative’s eventual death may mean the business will eventually be left without a solid plan for the future.
  • Family business tends to spill over into family time, making it hard to ever get away from the business, or to stop thinking about it.
For more on family-owned small businesses, check out our article called Managing Your Family Business and Keeping Your Cool – any tips you’d like to share?


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