Dominant interests

Dominant interests are those each member has in the business family. These interests can be placed under three broad heads, although various combinations of these are also possible.

Protective orientation: This seeks to maximise the meeting of basic family needs, provide income to support the family and other forms of reward (social standing, occupation, self-respect, etc.).
Entrepreneurial orientation: This focuses on developing and leading the business. The aim in this case is to create value through growth and expansion. Accordingly, the business family is willing to forego some of its private consumption and investments for the company's sake. Large family firms have adopted this orientation but it can also be found in many small enterprises too.

Financial orientation: For someone with this orientation, the family business must be optimised in terms of profitability, liquidity, risk, and so forth. That is why it is important that the company be well-managed. Such an individual is not interested in running the company but rather in achieving good results. In this case, the family business efforts focus on achieving higher returns than for alternative investments.

The foregoing orientations may be more strongly or weakly expressed and be mixed in different proportions. Thus one frequently encounters combinations of the protective and entrepreneurial orientations given that making the firm grow is perfectly compatible with providing for the family's offspring.
The dominant interests or orientations in the firm need to be identified to gain a better insight into business family members' views and perceptions.