Five top findings from a family business survey

The professional services firm KPMG has surveyed the views of family businesses across Europe - here are five main points from the survey:

Succession

The KPMG survey found that passing the business to the next generation is weighing heavily on the minds of family businesses across Europe. Asked what was the big strategic issue for the year ahead, most respondents ticked this issue. Other strategic issues on their minds include the sale of the business and appointing outside (from the family) managers.

Non-family managers

Despite their concerns, a big majority of family businesses think non-family managers are good for their company, with many saying they bring worthwhile external knowledge and help to professionalise the business. Nevertheless, only 17% of respondent think they help family members to concentrate more on strategic issues. When it came to the risks of integrating non-family managers, the biggest one was considered to be conflict between family and non-family members. Loss of control was also mentioned.

Governance

It looks like the governance issue is getting through to family businesses, with 85% of respondents saying good governance matters. To improve governance, respondents reckoned that formalizing board structures was the biggest priority, followed by implementing a shareholders agreement and then setting up a family council.

Family business advantages

When it comes to being a family business, respondents felt that it gave them advantages over non-family businesses, especially when it comes to decision making, which family businesses reckon they are more fast and flexible at than non-family businesses. Other advantages for the sector included having a long-term perspective and shared values and ethos.

Confidence

European family businesses are confidence, according to the survey, with 75% indicating a positive outlook for the year ahead, with only 8% negative. More than half of the respondents have increased turnover in the past year, with 46% adding staff numbers. Nevertheless, around a third of respondents felt concerned about increasing competition and recruiting skilled staff.