Most are familiar with the statistic that only 30% of family businesses survive to the third generation. A lesser known statistic shows that the vast majority of family groups have more than one business and it is because of this that they survive over multiple generations. To survive you need multiple businesses and activities under one Family group entity. A recent study, The FFI – Goodman Longevity Study by Thomas Zellweger, Mattias Nordqvist and Robert Nason, showed that only 10% of the business families in the sample of 118 families controlled just 1 firm. In fact the average number of firms currently controlled was 3.4 and the average controlled over the history of the family was 6.1.
It is the Family, not the Business, therefore, which needs to be the focus of our efforts. As Darwin said, those that adapt survive. Families that build cultures and structures that promote diversification of business, philanthropic and community activities will be the ones that grow over multiple generations and empower future generations to pursue their goals.
Frederic J. Marx