Resources for Family-Owned Businesses

This brief outlines the legal definition of a family business and points readers toward some online references.

June 30, 1999

For many remodelers, their businesses involve family members. And family businesses can take on different forms--siblings may run a company, or a spouse might do the books and take care of administrative activities.

According to the Family Firm Institute, here are some defining characteristics of family business.


  • More than one family member works in the company (paid or not).
  • Career decisions of family members are influenced by the existence of the business.
  • Family relationships have influence on management succession.
  • Family members hold key positions.
  • Family shares a sense of responsibility for the business.

A host of issues--such as succession, family relationships, and transfer of ownership--affect family businesses. The dynamics surrounding family businesses are unique. Owners have more than a business relationship; they have strong emotional ties. The Austin Family Business Program at Oregon State University lists the challenges for business-owning families as communicating, working together day-to-day, and surviving succession. Remodelers looking for more information on family business topic can check out these websites:


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