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How family businesses can plan for the future

Strategy and succession are critical for survival, and CPAs can play a key role.
By Ken Tysiac – Source
July 1, 2017

How family businesses can plan for the future
The original A.J. Bush & Co. store, founded in 1897, houses the Bush Brothers visitors center in Chestnut Hill, Tenn. (Photo courtesy of Bush’s)

Bush Brothers had reached a crossroads in the early 1990s. Founded by A.J. Bush in 1908, the family-owned vegetable canning company based in Knoxville, Tenn., was experiencing succession challenges and ready for a change in strategy.

Many of the second-generation family members had died, and it was time to pass along ownership to the third generation. The steps Bush Brothers took to survive and thrive can provide a road map for leaders of family-owned businesses eager to see the companies they have built carry on for multiple future generations.

Family-owned businesses often struggle with strategic planning, beyond establishing yearly budgets. Less than half (45%) of family businesses participating in PwC’s 2017 U.S. family business survey said they have a strategy fit for the digital age. Meanwhile, just 23% of family companies participating in the survey have a robust, documented succession plan in place, and 46% of family business leaders said they are reluctant to pass on leadership to the next generation.
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