Aspen current thinking column


Spring 2013

December Current Thinking Column

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Views from around the world: High Growth Family Business

by Burak Kocer & Leslie Dashew
Aspen Family Business Group

We are delighted to share that the Aspen Family Business Group engaged in a study of emerging leaders in business in Turkey. Our associate, Burak Kocer, conducted the study and partner Leslie Dashew wrote a foreword on preparing the family business for the future.

Here are a few highlights of the report

  • Statistics indicate that small businesses (SMEs), which are all family-owned, are the backbones of growth, job creation and innovativeness in Europe and in the UK. This is evidenced as they outperform large-scale companies in the market in terms of new job creation and introduction of new products.
  • This is even more critical during times of economic uncertainty, which does not come as a surprise to us as family business advisors. We know how dedicated families in business are to create value and sustain it throughout generations. This characteristic becomes visible to the market with new job creation, finding new ways to compete in the market (with new products or in new consumer markets based on their core competence), which is more difficult for risk-adverse (and less agile) giant companies.
  • Thus, the economic prosperity in macro terms strongly depends on mobilizing the strengths of families in business and mitigating the potential inefficiencies, which are inherent to working as a family.
  • For example, according to Companies to Inspire 1,000 report, the fastest growing companies in the EU countries performed an amazing 3-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 103% (730% for top 100 companies). Their two-year new job creation equaled 43%. These 1,000 companies hold 4,884 patents in total, almost 5 patents on average per company.
  • AFBG undertook the preparation of the Turkish version of this study and found similar results in Turkey. Turkish SMEs, all family businesses (or “Emerging Leaders of Turkey” as we named them) outperformed their large-scale counterparts in terms of 3-year CAGR of net sales (25 per cent) and new job creation (13 per cent).
  • The fact that the CAGR of overall job creation in Turkey during the same period was 3.41 per cent underscores the power of the Emerging Leaders to act as an accelerator in revitalizing the economy.
  • They also proved to be highly dynamic in terms of new investments. The strategic plans of the Emerging Leaders for the next three years indicate that 52 per cent of them plan to make a new facility investment inside the country and 25 per cent of them plan to invest abroad according to the results of our survey. This fact renders the dynamism of the Emerging Leaders even more valuable, given the sense of uncertainty in the global trade as a common theme around the world.
  • As family business advisors, we focused our attention to potential pitfalls in sustaining this amazing performance. 73% high-growth companies are run by the first-generation and a quarter of them state that they will have to come up with transition plans in the next three years. Thus, succession planning constitutes a critical success factor for sustaining this fast-paced growth performance.
  • In planning this transition, the Emerging Leaders must identify both what has made the business successful to date and scan the environment to determine new dynamics that will change the success formula.
  • Critical in this transition is understanding the knowledge and leadership skills that successors must possess in the future: often different than what contributed to success in the past.
  • The transition of ownership must be planned in a way to address the needs for control of those operating the business, while satisfying the needs of transparency for more passive owners and identifying their benefits.
  • A new governance system often needs to be put in place, which assures that the oversight, advice and decision-making processes are achieved with the greatest degree of professionalism.
  • Effective systems of communication must be established within the company and with stakeholders including family members, advisors and employees.

The business world and the world in general are more complicated and more connected than ever before. There are lessons that we can harvest from our counterparts around the globe. These studies help us see the commonalities as well as different strategies that can help us flourish. We hope you will find this work of interest. In a future blog, Bill Roberts will share some additional lessons from our program in Greece.

The 22nd Annual Women in Family Business Conference in Tucson, Arizona, is less than three months away. Register before it is too late!

Go to for more information and to register.



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