The article examines the contributions family-owned businesses make to the community.

Getting Started

Appropriate Subject Area(s):

Marketing, entrepreneurship

Key Questions to Explore:

  • Why do family owned businesses outperform large publicly traded corporations?

New terminology:

Meritocracy, share-price return, benchmark, tenure

Materials needed:

Copies of the article

Learning Activity

Introduction to lesson and task:

This lesson explores the phenomenon of family-owned businesses, especially large ones that have been in existence for many generations.

Action (lesson plan and task):

  • Have students download  a polling app onto their phone: Kahoot is a free one available for all mobile devices.
  • Using the polling software, set up the following questions to ask students:
    • Do you know any family owned businesses?  Yes or No
    • What percentage of the World’s companies are family owned —  30%, 50%, 70% or 90%?  (ans. 90%)
    • In North America, how many family owned businesses have revenues of over one billion dollars —  10%, 33%, 57% or 84% (ans. 33%)
  • Discuss the polling results with the class.
  • Ask the class what is meant by a family-owned business.
  • Before distributing the article for reading, have students work in small groups to discuss the contributions family-owned businesses make to the community.
  • Distribute the article for reading.
  • The article states that, as a group, family owned businesses deliver superior returns. Use flip chart paper and have students answer:
  • What does this statement mean?  What is the impact of this on the employees? The customers? The family? The community?

Consolidation of Learning:

  • Family-owned businesses are said to be successful because they are focused on the long term.  What does this mean?  Why does this focus contribute to their success?

Success Criteria:

  • Students understand the long term view taken by family-owned businesses and why this is a competitive advantage.

Confirming Activity:

  • In pairs, have students contact a family-owned business in their community and interview them, focusing on the long term and where they see their business in the next generation.  Have each pair write a case study about this family-owned business.   In another class, have students swap their case studies and ask questions of each other to learn more.