Owning a successful business is very different to running a successful business. Our survey has shown us that the distinctive strengths of the family firm could be further enhanced by accessing professional skills and international experience.
This is especially true when it comes to mastering aggressive growth plans. Some family businesses are wary of exporting because they lack the specific skills and experience they need to this effectively. Their reluctance may also spring from an understandable caution, or an inadequate understanding of the real nature of the risks of international expansion.
Another challenge family firms face is that of recruiting and retaining key talent. This is often because the most highly-qualified people have not traditionally opted to work for family firms because they believe that their progress will be artificially constrained by the shareholding structure, and they will achieve greater financial rewards and career fulfilment elsewhere.
Nearly 6 in 10 family businesses we surveyed recognise that in order to reach the scale they aspire to in today’s more turbulent and competitive marketplace, they require comprehensive management skills -- including professional managers from outside the family.
Many also recognise that retaining that pivotal outside talent entails offering shares in the company and/or board membership. Indeed, 64 per cent of family businesses presently have non-family board members -- and, while 31 per cent of those non-family members hold shares in the business today, that number is expected to increase to 49 per cent by 2017.
Finally, with the need to continually innovate seen by almost two-thirds of family businesses as their biggest internal challenge going forward, it’s clear that attracting and retaining the right talent is one a key success factor.
Learn more about the qualities that make family business unique, the current and future challenges they face and what they believe they need to do to compete in an increasingly global market place.
How are companies like yours preparing to become more international? How are they recruiting and retaining the right talent? How are they preparing the business to hand over to the next generation?