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Family businesses outperform their rivals, report

By Rashmi Kumar

Commitment and passion by family members towards their businesses gives them an edge over competition, according to latest research by UK private bank Coutts & Co.

The Family Businesses: Competitive strengths and qualities report found that a family’s personal approach to the business and strong relationship with stakeholders gives it a competitive advantage over non-family businesses.

The report said: “The top five strengths cited by family businesses include exceptional human resources practice, flexible decision making, personal approach to business, honesty and integrity and using the family as a source of commercial strength.”

Chloe Elms, family business manager at Coutts, told CampdenFB: “Businesses are well placed to ensure that the family pulls together when it has to, and the passion and determination to succeed is something that certainly comes to the fore in times of need, a factor that is also enhanced by the fact that it is often the 'family name above the door.'”

Among other findings, the report highlighted the importance of succession planning. The survey found that family businesses that do succeed over the years tend to view succession planning as an ongoing process, and not a one-off event.

The research, which surveyed 300 family businesses in Britain and was compiled in collaboration with professor Robert Merson of London Business School, also said that the quick decision-making process within family businesses helped boost their performance.

According to Elms, families tend to maintain a balance between thinking long-term and being agile and flexible, both of which strengthen their position to deal with economic ups and downs.

“The ability to be flexible means that families are more likely to 'hold on in there' despite a financial crisis and continue to focus on the quality of their products and services, which is key in an increasingly competitive world,” said Elms.

The report comes just weeks after Coutts launched a programme for next generation clients, aimed at teaching them to better manage wealth and develop business acumen.