9 Wealth-Building Tenets of the Successful Business Family


We’re often asked – how do the successful business families get that way? 

We’re impressed with how often we find them practicing similar methods in achieving their success. We believe that these highly successful family businesses offer lessons valuable to even the smallest and youngest family business. 

Here are 9 key factors based on various studies and our experiences that are common to the most successful family businesses: 

1) Selective family employment  

Successful family businesses have policies that only provide employment to those family members who are clearly qualified. Selective employment clarifies that working in the business is more an opportunity than an obligation. When family members feel an obligation to work in the family business, they lose motivation. 

2) Family meetings  

Successful families meet regularly to learn together. They learn about the underlying business, including its history and values, and how to assess its financial performance. They invest in learning skills together, often by hiring a trainer or by attending seminars. They also learn about conflict resolution, and behavior patterns. 

3) Family mission statement 

Successful families are bound together more by strong values and purpose than by shared business ownership. Their family mission is often to perpetuate those family values, with or without the business. Some of the values that strengthen the family and the business include integrity and mutual trust. 

4) Traditional times for fun  

The strongest families establish regular occasions just to be together as an extended family and to have fun. Whatever the activity, everyone joins in the occasion, and business talk is restricted. 

5) Open, coordinated estate planning  

As families grow more complex, the advantages of sharing estate plans with all members becomes clear. Each benefits from the knowledge of everyone else. Accordingly, the business is better insulated from surprises that result from poor or secretive estate planning. 

6) Family leadership succession  

It’s important toseparate family leadership from business leadership. Successful families ensure that there is a well-prepared successor to family leadership, whether it’s one person or a family committee or a family council. 

7) Understated wealth  

The most successful, long-lasting families are not flashy with their money (or power, nor conspicuous in their spending. They realise that how they use their money sets important precedents and attitudes for future generations. 

8) Independent advisors  

The most prevalent advice to others from successful families in business is to recruit respected and objective outside advisors. They bring a freshness and creativity with decision-making of the highest standard and best of care. 

9) Eagerness to learn and improve  

The most successful families in business are constantly seeking knowledge of 
family businesses. As a family, they attend family-business seminars and participate in family networks with other successful families in order to share and learn 
from their experience.