Learning from families in business who have been there, done that…

and are still talking to each other.

Dr. Justin Craig
Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship
D’Amore McKim School of Business
Northeastern University
Boston, USA

Family Business

Research continues to highlight qualities that contribute to family business resilience. Many non-family entities are starting to mimic key behaviours such as frugality in good times and bad, judiciousness in capital expenditure and carrying little debt.

Successful family businesses, typically:

  • Understand the importance of professionalizing the family business through the introduction of family governance initiatives that are appropriate to the needs of the ever changing business and family
  • Champion the introduction of initiatives that maintain transparency
  • Distinguish between what is a family matter and what is a business matter
  • Are vigilant monitors of the overall condition of the business and the well-being of the family

They also:

  • Understand that some things are inevitable and discuss these openly
  • Appreciate the reasons why succession is challenging
  • Facilitate next generation aspirants’ understanding of the rights and responsibilities of leadership
  • Consider a role in the business as more than a job, more than a career.

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CASE STUDY: When Married Owners Strategies Differ

Tom wanted to grow the business rapidly with outside investors and Nancy preferred downsizing the business to retain majority ownership and control

The Thompson Companies is a specialty retailer of children toys. Tom and Nancy Thompson founded the business in 2002, together shortly after they were married. The business started out as a hobby, but rode the wave of a strong economy and flourished enough for both of them to leave their full-time careers and dedicate themselves to the new business. As the business grew, both were in agreement on most business issues.

The business came to a crossroad. More…