When it comes to growth, 93 percent of U.S. family businesses are confident as opposed to 81 percent of their global counterparts, according to PwC's latest Global Family Business Survey.
Market conditions remain the primary near-term concern, 68 percent of respondents say, but this is a decrease from 88 percent just two years ago, which could signal that respondents have adapted to today’s market volatility and economic uncertainty.
The survey also finds that 76 percent of respondents plan to pass on their companies to the next generation, marking the highest number since 2007 and a major increase from 55 percent two years ago. Fifty-two percent of respondents plan to pass ownership as well as management to family members while 24 percent of respondents anticipate transferring ownership but bringing in outside management.
Regarding strategic planning, 82 percent of respondents intend to grow steadily in the next five years. Only 11 percent of respondents project quick, aggressive growth. In the next five years, 58 percent of respondents say continually innovating is the main challenge while 50 percent of respondents are worried that their potential successors lack the drive and aptitude needed to lead their businesses into the future.
More respondents are turning to international markets as a source of growth as 47 percent are selling goods and services outside their customary domestic markets, and 54 percent plan to do so in the future. Two years ago, only 30 percent of respondents had plans to sell abroad.
"We've noticed an attitudinal shift among many U.S. family businesses in the past two years," says Alfred Peguero, U.S. family offices services leader of PwC. "They've gone from warily eyeing their next big bet to actively seeking business growth opportunities. Companies recognize now more than ever the need to out-innovate their competitors and seek new avenues of growth in order to thrive in a fast-evolving business landscape. Fortunately, family businesses inherently have the entrepreneurship that is needed to keep pace in the global economy. Their challenge is fostering the same entrepreneurial spirit in future generations."