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Family-Owned Businesses Still Run the World

Making it to our fourth generation.

by Adam Muhlenhaupt — Posted on September 14th, 2017

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Family businesses have been around since the dawn of time. They are the oldest company model and still the most common type of economic organization to this day. While many think of family-owned businesses as strictly mom and pop shops, you know as well as us that family-owned businesses represent companies across the entire spectrum, from small businesses to international corporations.

90%

of U.S. Businesses are Family-Owned

35%

of Fortune 500 Companies are family-controlled.

Not only do family-owned companies play a vital role in the world’s economy, but they are also trusted more than any other type of organization. This is often influenced by the fact that family businesses are never focused strictly on the next quarter. Family business owners focus on the long-term and how their business and their core values will carry over from generation to generation.

The Family Dirt that Can’t Be Swept Under the Rug


There’s no denying that family-owned organizations face their own unique set of problems (we’ve had our fair share). These include professionalizing your board, regulatory concerns, succession planning, and engaging the next generation. Unfortunately, the statistics show that these issues are still being dealt with:


Nearly 70% of transitions will fail, and 60% of those that fail do so because of communication and trust problems.

40% of family business leaders are hesitant to relinquish their control to the next generation.


Often family business owners are so concerned with what’s happening right now and what will happen in the long run that they forget to focus on the middle ground, where strategic planning is vital in the successful continued operation and transition of your company from one generation to the next.

Our family has been fortunate to make it to our fourth generation. We’re in a new industry in 2017, compared to the 1930s but we’ve made it. We will continue pushing along with our focus to support family owned businesses and their growth.

I guess I haven’t really moved too far beyond our ‘family moving business roots.’ After all, on our fourth generation of Muhlenhaupt business, we’re still moving companies forward.

- Ronald P. “Rip” Muhlenhaupt