91% Expect No Trouble for Family Businesses –

Perhaps 2013 is the year for the American family business. A recent survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) finds that U.S. family businesses are more optimistic about their growth outlook than their peers across the globe and stand ready to face the obstacles and challenges ahead.

The Global Family Business Survey revealed that 91% of U.S. family businesses, compared to 81% of their global counterparts, are more confident about their business’ prospects for growth and ready to capitalize on new opportunities. While 68% cited market conditions as a main issue in the next 12 months, that number is down from 88% who cited market conditions two years ago.

The survey also finds that a majority of U.S. family businesses plan on keeping it in the family, with 76% who said they plan to hand over the business to the next generation. While 52% plan on transferring both ownership and management of the business to family members, only 24% plan to pass on ownership and bring in outside management to run the company.

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Eighty-two percent of family businesses are expecting steady growth in the next five years, while 11% expect to take the quick and aggressive approach. Drive and entrepreneurial spirit has definitely increased, the survey reveals, with 58% citing continual innovation as a top challenge for the next five years. Fifty percent expressed concern about those taking over the business after them, wondering if they have the drive and aptitude necessary to propel and sustain the business in the future. Family business owners do have other concerns moving forward: 61% cite tough competition and 52% cite finding workers with the right skills and talents as a challenge.

“U.S. family businesses are still navigating a slow-growth economic environment and increasingly competitive marketplace,” Alfred Peguero, PwC’s U.S. Family Offices Services leader, said in a press release. “The talent shortage in particular has been a persistent challenge for companies, as we’ve seen in the past three consecutive surveys. This is where family businesses can step up and become part of the solution. Through on-the-job training and partnering with local schools, they have an opportunity to play a vital role in creating jobs and growing the economy.”

Information Technology, social media and cyber security have been identified as important trends in business as well as vital to the future of businesses. Survey respondents seem to echo these sentiments: 39% said the need for new technology will be a substantial challenge within five years.

“Business as usual won’t suffice if family companies are to maintain and grow market share in today’s business landscape, Peguero said in a press release. “Future leaders of family businesses will need to be prepared to pursue opportunities in faster-growing markets, develop new products, and explore alternative business models to stay relevant and ahead of competitors, both domestic and global. In the process, they’ll also need to be comfortable assuming a degree of strategic risk-taking.”

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