Family Businesses are special

Family businesses are the cornerstone of the British economy

Family businesses are special

Family businesses really are special with one very important differentiator from non – family business; the day to day involvement of the family in the affairs of the business. You may be wearing the hat of a shareholder, a manager, a director or an employee.

Here are some of the characteristics that set family businesses apart:

  • Balancing family and business interests often requires a compromise between family and business perspectives.
  • Some members of the family business system think more as family members; other as managers; others as owners.
  • The company’s business plans must be integrated with leadership and ownership succession plans.
  • Non-employee family owners want, need and deserve a role in the business’ strategy, culture and governance system.
  • Gaining the motivation to become a successful successor can be difficult, particularly given the ambivalence that heirs often feel.
  • Preserving the business can appear more important than economic rationality.
  • Paternalism is promoted due to long terms of leadership and the need to gain people’ allegiance without sharing too much power or information.
  • If we maintain that family businesses are special we must conclude that advisers to family owned or run businesses need to have a special understanding of their family business client.


Richard Frost

Partner, Sheffield

0114 266 7141



Richard Marsh

Partner, Doncaster

01302 367 262


David Cairns

David Cairns

David Cairns, Northampton

01604 645 600


Our offices

Pegasus House, 463a Glossop Road, Sheffield, S10 2QD

5 Sidings Court, White Rose Way, Doncaster, DN4 5NU

Jubilee House, 32 Duncan Close, Moulton Park, Northampton, NN3 6WL


01604 645 600


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