Majority of family business owners hope their children will follow

The vast majority of family business bosses are keen on their children entering the company, research finds.

However, nearly one in five (16 per cent) say family firms should employ outside of the family to allow it to grow, according to a study by

The survey quizzed more than 500 family company bosses about how they feel about their business and its future. The respondents come from various sectors such as construction, retail and accountancy.

Half of those questioned say that they had inherited the company, or that it had been handed down to them, while 39 per cent had started the business themselves, with 11 per cent buying it off relatives.

Nearly all (97 per cent) say they hope their children would join them in the family business, and of those 14 per cent say their children were building their own careers before joining.

Of those who said they did not want their children to join the family business, 80 per cent say that they want them to make their own way in the world away, while 20 per cent say they don’t want their children to suffer the stress of having their own business.

Despite this, the majority of respondents (87 per cent) say they do feel more pressure to keep the business in the family because of its origins, with 21 per cent stating that they owe it to their parents or grandparents, and more than two thirds (68 per cent) saying they would like to keep the family tradition going.

Nearly half of respondents (47 per cent) think family firms are more trustworthy than non-family businesses, and 37 per cent state they believe family companies would be more loyal to their clientele.

Lyndon Wood, CEO and founder of says that people start businesses for two reasons; to make a life for yourself and to provide for your family, the the more successful that business gets the harder it is to let go.

‘Building a business is an emotional journey, and I believe that is borne out by our survey findings. No matter how you started your business, it becomes part of your extended family.

‘Our findings show there are still family businesses keen to ensure their companies stay in the bloodline, but the fact that many of our respondent’s children are learning the skills needed to run a business from the outside highlights that in this modern, globalised age, ‘keeping it in the family’ may not be enough to sustain a family business for the future.’

Further reading on family businesses

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel was the editor of from 2010 to 2018. He specialises in writing for start-up and scale-up companies in the areas of finance, marketing and HR.

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Family businesses