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Faculty Focus | The key to family business success

Volume 17, Number 11
November 2011

Watch an 8-minute interview with David Simpson discussing the benefits and challenges of family businesses

Being part of a family business is often considered to be like a double-edged sword - there are inherent advantages, but also some challenges.

That's why Ivey's Business Families Centre is hosting a two-day development program to help those involved in or considering family businesses to understand the unique dynamics. The event, Leading Family Firms: A Roadmap to Success, will run November 24-25 at Ivey's Spencer Leadership Centre and features a video case series "Roadmap" that looks at common family business themes.

David Simpson, Executive Director of Ivey's Business Families Centre, said the event brings family business members together to discuss the challenges facing family businesses and potential solutions.

"They learn they're not alone because they are always with other families who are going through the same type of things," he said. "They get to talk about the future as a family and try to connect the dots between what the next generation is interested in and what the founder legacy ideas are. Often they've never talked about that so it's a unique opportunity."

Simpson said the interest in family businesses is increasing, not only among those with businesses in their families, but also business school graduates who see opportunities to advise, invest in, or even buy family businesses.

"Our students often go on to be advisers or investment bankers and, with about 80 per cent of businesses controlled by families worldwide, they are likely going to be working with family businesses," he said. "There's a real opportunity here so we thought it was important at Ivey to both work with family businesses and get our students prepared for dealing with family businesses. According to Simpson, family businesses often outlast and outperform other types of businesses and their resiliency and stability make them even more appealing for career opportunities in tough economic times.


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