Summary of Family Businesses Are Here to Stay and Thrive

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Family businesses aren’t just local mom-and-pop stores. This class of enterprises includes some of the largest companies in the world: Walmart, Cargill and Mars, to name but a few. In emerging markets especially, family-run businesses are growing at breakneck speed, and Vikram Bhalla, managing director of the Boston Consulting Group’s Mumbai office, explains why this context brings an entirely new set of rules.

About the Speaker

Family business researcher Vikram Bhalla is a senior partner and director of the Boston Consulting Group’s Mumbai office and a contributor to The Economist’s Dynasties edition.



Many of the world’s largest firms are family businesses.

In developed markets, nearly a third of big firms are family run: Consider Walmart, Coke, News Corp and Cargill, for example. In emerging markets, family firms have an even larger presence. About 50% to 80% of sizable firms are family enterprises.

Researchers understand how family firms behave in developed markets.

In terms of performance, family businesses in advanced economies tend to prioritize resilience over quick growth. Their culture emphasizes stability, so they expand more slowly than non-family businesses. Family firms typically take on less debt, too. Their mergers and acquisitions are smaller deals. Generally, they’re more profitable than non...

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