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NZ Family Businesses Feel The Heat From Stress

NZ Family Businesses Feel The Heat From Stress

Stress levels are reaching boiling point among many of the world's family businesses, including those in New Zealand.

According to a recent Grant Thornton International study, stress affected more family business owners in Turkey (81%), New Zealand (64%), Russia, South Africa and Hong Kong (all 62%) than any of the other countries surveyed.

"Personal relationships create additional family stress for family businesses that still have to deal with everyday operational matters," said Grant Thornton New Zealand spokesman Peter Sherwin.

"In New Zealand, the exacerbating operational factor is regulation and red tape. In addition to red tape, there are constraints on growth, which we know from our earlier survey results is primarily the shortage of skilled workers."

Mr Sherwin said that, while New Zealand businesses as a general group were rated among the less stressed when compared with international counterparts, when the Grant Thornton survey analysed family businesses specifically, there was a different picture. Family businesses had much higher levels of stress.

"New Zealand family businesses are not alone in this. Globally, 42% of family businesses have seen an increase in stress within the last year alone," he said.

Mr Sherwin said that family businesses by their very nature could create stress, ranging from relationships with spouses directly involved to family shareholders indirectly connected.

"Dealing with day-to-day operational factors is difficult enough, but when you put family relationships into the mix within a commercial context, the outcome is potentially explosive. Therefore the focus has to be on what steps can be taken to reduce the potential for family-related business conflicts."

The global survey found that the main stress-causing factors specific to family businesses were:

Wealth being tied in to the business

Relationships with shareholders

The future ownership of the business

Family involvement.

ENDS

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