Few private firms survive to third generation

The Gene B. Glick Co. has managed to accomplish what few privately held family enterprises can—keeping the company alive
a third generation.

The average life expectancy of a family business in the United States is 24 years, said Donald F. Kuratko, executive director
of the Johnson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Indiana University.

Only about 30 percent of businesses survive to a second generation, and only 16 percent make it to a third, Kuratko reports
in his book, "En
trepreneurship: Theory, Process and Practice."

"Succession planning has not been a major focus of most family businesses," he said. "They run their businesses
based on everyday
opportunities, how to stay alive and growing. Too often, people try to transition the business only after the death of a key

Kuratko said he is not aware of studies showing how many companies survive to a fourth generation.

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