4:15 p.m. Pacific standard time

The DNA to succeed for generations-what does it take?

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Session recap

The DNA to succeed for generations

What makes a family business successful? EY convened small groups of family business leaders to discuss the key findings from the 2014 EY Global Family Business Survey.

Here are some of their insights:

  • If you have a cast of interesting family characters, tell their stories. It helps customers identify with your family business. Be very direct about why being a family business adds value to what you do.
  • Most family businesses are committed to Corporate Social Responsibility. However, they often need to approach CSR in a strategic way, communicate to their own people the reasons for their philanthropic actions and make CSR part of their brand.
  • Boards, done well, are a powerful vehicle to grow a company, assist the CEO and management team and hold them accountable in a collaborative way.
  • “Entrepreneurial spirit” is important, but it can become a distraction if you have too many ideas and don’t focus on the business.
  • When times are tough, you can rely on family.
  • Be very clear on what you’re doing and why you’re doing it – that’s your North Star. Be self-aware, clear and run the business with intention.
  • Healthy family dynamics center around the three Cs: communications, councils and charters. Noted one participant: “We think it’s important that Generation Three starts to see us interacting as a family.”
  • Family businesses often don’t realize how vulnerable they are to cyber-attacks because they don’t think they fit the profile of companies that are targeted. But campaigns may be against an industry, business model or supply chain – not necessarily a single company. Also, family businesses can be especially vulnerable to cybersecurity breaches prior to going public or during an M&A.