Built to Last: Heritage and Tradition in Family Business

family portrait of small business owners. mexican restaurant owners
Heritage is the DNA of a family business. It goes generations deep—and if you’ve just started a family business, you’re ideally building a foundation for your family’s future.

According to the Small Business Administration, family businesses comprise 90% of all business enterprises in North America, and 62% of total US employment. Some of the world’s largest businesses are family-run companies, including Wal-Mart and BMW.

What drives the success of many family businesses? It could be the sense of connection and identity family members feel with the business and their family. There are many advantages of running a family business: flexibility to work at your own pace, sharing common values and getting to spend time with the people you care about.

Operating a family business comes with a degree of risk. Conflicts between family loyalty and business demands in high-profile family firms have led to public feuds and blowouts, but a well-run family business can be a beautiful thing.

And where do women fit into all of this? Women are increasingly participating in family business leadership. Nearly 60% of all family-owned businesses have women in top management team positions and 24% of family businesses are led by a female CEO or president.

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Pictured above: Estée Lauder,Founder, Estée Lauder Cosmetics Co. (left); Aerin Lauder, Founder and Creative Director, AERIN, and Style and Image Director, Estée Lauder (right)
Photos: cosmaddict.com, thesimplyluxuriouslife.com

Take, the Estée Lauder cosmetics empire, launched in 1946 when visionary entrepreneur Estée Lauder started her business with a simple premise: that every woman can be beautiful. Today, Estée Lauder’s children and grandchildren are active and involved in the legacy she carefully built over many decades.It was Estée’s entrepreneurial passion that inspired her granddaughter, Aerin Lauder, to create the luxury lifestyle brand AERIN, a subdivision of The Estée Lauder Companies.

Now that’s a beautiful thing!

Stories make the family, but they also make the business. It’s the history that makes the business a living, breathing brand. Understanding, articulating and passing down your family legacy creates authentic core values and a unique vision for the future.

Thinking of ways to enhance your family brand? Join our eChapter event today at 4pm ET. We’re replaying one of our highest-attended eChapter events: Optimize Your Personal Brand. Network live with NAPW members nationwide and learn from branding experts on how to position your business for success.


We want to hear from you! Do you own or work for a family-owned business? What have been your greatest benefits and challenges? Share your comments below.


Megan Bozzuto

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