6 Insightful Family Business Statistics You Need to Know in 2023

According to the latest data, there are over 33.2 million small businesses in the USA, of which approximately 16.57 percent are family owned. 

Every successful family business starts with a vision and a plan for the future. The families behind these businesses have navigated challenges posed by an ever evolving market with dedication, strategic decisions, and hard work. 

However, becoming a prosperous family business is not easy, as there are several factors that must be taken into account to increase the chances of success. 

That’s why it is important to keep up with new family business statistics to understand their unique dynamics better.

Insightful Family Business Statistics

  1. 70% of family-owned businesses fail.
  2. According to familybusinesscenter.com, the average life span is 24 years.
  3. 33.6% of the S&P 500 companies are family-run, with the founding family owning an average of 18% of the company’s equity.
  4. In the US, there are 5.5 million family-owned businesses.
  5. An estimated 60% of US workers are employed by family-run companies.
  6. According to Business Week, 40% of family-owned businesses survive to the second generation, 13% survive to the third, and only 3% survive to the fourth or beyond
Insightful Family Business Statistics You Need to Know

What percentage of family businesses succeed?

According to HBR, 30% of family owned businesses succeed. Starting and running a successful family-owned business is no small feat. It requires significant time, energy, and perseverance to ensure that the business continues to thrive. 

Family businesses face unique challenges due to the dual importance of close personal relationships as well as professional ones; Very few businesses can truly understand these complexities better than those with familial ties. 

Making sure your personal life doesn’t interfere with important decisions made in regards to your business can be a tricky task, but something that must be considered when striving for success.

What percentage of family businesses fail?

According to the Harvard Business Review, an estimated 70% of family businesses fail within the first generation. The largest contributing factors are often attributed to a lack of planning and an inability to reconcile personal issues in the transition from the first to the second generation. 

This highlights the importance of careful consideration during such a critical transition period, when families must set governance structures, decision-making processes, and transition timelines. 

Any of these factors, if not addressed correctly, can increase the risk of financial and operational failure for any business.

What is the average lifespan of a family business?

According to familybusinesscenter.com, the average lifespan of a family business is a discouragingly short 24 years. This contrasts sharply with non-family-owned firms, which can survive for numerous generations, if not centuries.

Although there is no one-size-fits-all answer to why family businesses often do not last as long, studies point to common occurrences such as poor succession planning, difficulty navigating interpersonal relationships and capital constraints from limited resources as major contributors to the trend.

What percentage of family owned businesses survive beyond the first generation?

Business Week reported that the survival rate of family-owned businesses isn’t as high as one might think: less than 40 percent make it to the second generation. 

That means that six out of every ten family-owned enterprises will go out of business sooner or later. Fortunately, careful planning and hard work can help families overcome the obstacles they’re likely to face while keeping their businesses alive and successful for generations. 

It is worth noting that seeing a family business through several generations is an impressive feat that many strive for with varied degrees of success.

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