FEUSA’s survey measures basic attitudes toward business growth looking at trends over time. Actual data from 2011 and 2012 along with projections for 2013 show growing confidence in family firms’ ability to increase revenue on a year-to-year basis. But, while the pace of hiring was trending upward from 2011 to 2012, job growth projections are now down for 2013. Based on other survey responses, we believe this reluctance to hire is tied directly to government policy.

70% of respondents report revenue growth in 2012, a figure that’s up from 50% in 2011. As a result, we saw more hiring. A full 54% of respondents indicate that they grew their workforce in 2012 in response to increased business. The rate of hiring in 2012 increased over 2011, commensurate with revenue growth. General attitudes toward a 2013 business outlook remain slightly optimistic, measured by expected revenue growth, but companies are reluctant to add workers. While 75% of respondents believe their revenues will grow in 2013, only 45% believe they will add workers.
This is a reversal from last year’s survey where reported revenue growth inspired confidence to
add jobs.

FEUSA survey findings suggest that this dip is likely due to anxiety about the public policy. One of FEUSA’s survey benchmark questions is what a respondent believes to be a greater threat to the future of their business: internal factors such as disagreements between family members about operations, the strategic direction of the business, or conflict in general, or external factors such as the general economic climate, tax policy and government regulation?

“More family businesses than last year identified the economic climate and government policy as the biggest threat to the future of their business.”