This year, Brown Brothers Harriman (BBH) conducted an inaugural Private Business Owner Survey. The respondents represented 400 U.S. private businesses with enterprise values from $10 million to $500 million and more. Of the owners surveyed, 87% represented family-owned enterprises; 74% were male, and 26% were female. We asked about how the business affects their family, how they think about the future, what might happen when they step away from the business, and how business strategy might be changing due to economic conditions.
The results were fascinating.
- Business owners report that they have estate plans (98%) but haven’t communicated them (94%).
- They have endured family disagreements about the business (84%), yet it is very important for most (85%) to keep the business in the family.
- While all have taken some steps to prepare the next generation to lead the business, most have not yet defined the roles of next generation leaders or not communicated their plans fully (75%).
Here, we examine the attitudes of private business owners toward economic uncertainty and investing in more detail.