As per the recently released Northwest Family Business Survey 2015, about one-third of family businesses in the North West US, anticipate a leadership change in the next five years. However, majority of those businesses have not yet identified the new leader (58%), but most (52%) believe the next leader will be a family member. Among the greatest hurdles in succession planning are generational differences and simply finding the time for this activity. The study also found that family businesses are now more confident in their ability to continue and/or expand. Businesses with 11–50 employees had the highest confidence rating, while those with fewer employees had the lowest.
The survey was conducted by Pacific Family Business Institute (PFBI) covering 200 family businesses in Oregon and Washington to gain insights into leadership and business characteristics. The survey participants had an average of 46 years in business. Sixty-five percent of the businesses reported annual revenue greater than $5 million, and five percent reported revenue of at least $75 million. Half of the businesses surveyed, were owned by first-generation family members, while nearly as many were owned by second-generation and about two-fifths were owned by the third generation or beyond. Most businesses had a CEO who is a family member (94%), generally either first-generation (39%) or second-generation (35%), and who owns a controlling interest (71%), and this is particularly true for newer businesses.