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Poll reveals family hopes for business

Most owners of family businesseshope their children will follow them, according to a new poll.
constructaquote.com quizzed over 500 family company bosses about how they feel about their business and its future. The respondents came from various sectors such as construction, retail and accountancy.

Some 97% of family business bosses hope that their children will follow them into the family firm, yet, 16% say family firms should employ outside of the family to allow it to grow. Half of those questioned said that they had inherited the company, or that it had been handed down to them, while 39% had started the business themselves, with 11% buying it off relatives.

97% said they hoped their children would join them in the family business, and of those 14% said their children were building their own careers before joining, and a further 11% were learning new skills outside of the family firm which they can bring when they eventually join.

Of those who said they did not want their children to join the family business, 80% said that they wanted them to make their own way in the world away, while 20% said they didn’t want their children to suffer the stress of having their own business.

Despite this, 87% said they did feel more pressure to keep the business in the family because of its origins, with 21% stating that they owe it to their parents or grandparents, and 68% saying they would like to keep the family tradition going.

47% of those surveyed said they thought family firms were more trustworthy than non-family businesses, and 37% stating they believed family companies would be more loyal to their clientele.

Lyndon Wood, CEO and founder of constructaquote.com, said: “When you start a business you do it for two reasons. One is to make a life for yourself and another is to provide for your family. The more successful that business gets the harder it is to let go, it is like your baby and it does truly become a family affair.

“Building a business is an emotional journey, and I believe that is borne out by our survey findings. No matter how you started your business, it becomes part of your extended family.

“Our findings show there are still family businesses keen to ensure their companies stay in the bloodline, but the fact that many of our respondent’s children are learning the skills needed to run a business from the outside highlights that in this modern, globalised age, ‘keeping it in the family’ may not be enough to sustain a family business for the future.”

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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