Survey finds most family-owned firms in Connecticut expect business conditions to improve, but concerns remain about economy, costs

On Nov. 13, CBIA and the University of New Haven's Center for Family Business released the results of the 2012 Survey of Family Businesses. The study, sponsored by CohnReznick, First Niagara Bank, and Reid and Riege PC, was undertaken to inform the development of programs, services, and public policy initiatives that can help family businesses succeed. Here is some of what we learned from the 580 companies responding.

  • While 47% of family businesses surveyed identify Connecticut sales as their greatest source of growth, 42% trace the majority of their revenue to other U.S. states, and 11% to international sales. This represents a significant shift since 2009, when 59% said Connecticut was their largest customer base and only 2% reported international sales as their greatest source of revenue.
  • Most family businesses (62%) project an increase in sales/revenue for 2013.
  • About half (48%) expect their workforce to remain stable, and another 43% expect to add jobs.
  • A sluggish economy is the single greatest challenge to family business growth today.
  • Healthcare costs and new healthcare reform provisions also are a major constraint.
  • From strategic plans to rules and conditions of employment, family businesses are largely lacking in clear, consistent, documented policies: though many of them agree that formalizing plans and procedures is necessary for business continuity.