The Economist recently devoted considerable space in its newspaper (I love that it refers to itself as a newspaper) to family businesses (see the April 18th-24th, 2015 issue). For a flavor of what you’ll find, try the opening paragraph in the opening story, To Have and to Hold:
FAMILIES HAVE ALWAYS been at the heart of business. Family companies are among the world’s oldest. The Hoshi Ryokan, an inn in Japan, has been in the same family since 718. Kongo Gumi, a Japanese family construction firm, was founded even earlier, in 578, but went bust in 2006. The Antinori family has been producing wine in Tuscany since 1385 and the Berettas have been making guns since 1526. Family companies played a starring role in the development of capitalism: think of the Barings or the Rothschilds in banking or the Fords and Benzes in carmaking.
Does your business have the staying power of a Rothschild or a Ford? If not, why not? What do they have that you can’t have? We’ll be exploring these and other issues facing today’s family companies on this blog in the near future. Stay tuned.