Models of family businesses

Analysis of the vast amount of information in the FBK-Database has allowed us to identify six broad categories of family businesses.

The Captain Model: Small enterprises run by their founders

Small and médium-sized enterprises ranging from micro-firms to medium firms. The average age of these firms is 28.

The Emperor Model: Companies and families united by a leader.

The companies and families are complex but have a poorly-developed structure. The stakeholdings are split between two generations, which work together. Power is in the hands of just one person, who leads the company and family. The average age of these firms is 41.

Family Team Model: Extensive family working in a small company.

Médium-sized firms with a large number of shareholders (6.5 on average), good communication and a fairly well-developed structure. Power is shared. From thirty years onwards, the model consolidates and may last a long time.

Professional Family Model: Few family members running a complex company in a professional manner.

The family and business complexity of these companies are similar to the Emperor Model but their growth has not been based on a highly-competent leader but rather on a well-developed family business structure. On average, they have three family members in senior management positions, running the firm in a highly professional manner. The family takes a sophisticated approach to managing the business.

Corporation Model: Complex family running a complex company.

The Corporation is the most highly-developed model in all its dimensions and is the oldest (61 years on average). It is more developed than the Professional Family but unlike the latter, its owners do not consider it necessary to have family managers, preferring instead to exercise control of the business through the Board of Directors.

Family Investment Group (FIG): Families of varying complexity that invest jointly.

Under a FIG structure, the family makes purely joint investments. This involves a different kind of relationship between the family and its investments from a situation where the family is directly involved in the running of its family business.

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