Research Gives Family Businesses a Voice on Capitol Hill


“Family businesses in America generate 50% of the jobs, 64% of GDP and account for 61% of all privately owned businesses. While family businesses are critical to the economic growth of our country, they are not given proper consideration when new laws, regulations and restrictions are imposed by legislators and other government bodies.”
Pat Soldano, Family Enterprise USA Board Member


In spite of these statistics, family enterprises struggle to ensure that lawmakers understand both the contributions that family businesses make to their communities and the concerns they have about legislation that makes it difficult for them to operate and grow their businesses successfully.

Since 2011, Family Enterprise USA (FEUSA), a 501(c)(3) non-profit, non-partisan organization with the sole mission of advocating on behalf of America’s business-owning families, has conducted an annual survey to gauge perceptions of family enterprises and better understand the challenges these businesses face. Hundreds of family-owned businesses in all shapes and sizes, from first generation small businesses to Gen 5 companies with thousands of employees, representing every industry — from real estate to manufacturing to energy – have participated in the annual FEUSA Survey to share their stories and voice their concerns. While these concerns and the survey findings below are sure to resonate with your experiences with your business-owning clients, lawmakers need to be reminded.

FEUSA Survey Highlights:

  • Family businesses bring stability and jobs to their communities: 70% of participants have been in business for 30 years or more, and 63% plan to hire more workers in the coming year.
  • It is becoming more difficult to sustain family businesses in America: 74% say that it has gotten harder to operate their family businesses in the past five years.
  • When asked to rate their top economic policy priorities on a scale from 1-10, reducing estate (8.6) and income taxes (8.3) top the list, followed by simplifying the tax code (8). Sixty-three percent (63%) of participants believe that Congress should repeal the estate tax.
  • Family businesses give back: 85% of family businesses contribute to charitable organizations, and 74% of business owners volunteer personal time in their communities.

Giving family business owners an opportunity to share their concerns by completing this survey helps to create a collective voice and hard data that can be used to make a difference in Washington on behalf of all American family business owners.

If you are an advisor or consultant with family enterprise clients in the US, we encourage you to share this link to the 2016 FEUSA Family Business Survey with the families with whom you work.

In exchange for their participation by July 31st, respondents will receive a complimentary summary of the survey findings.


The loss of FEUSA founder Gerry Rauenhorst in 2014 set in motion a renewed determination to evaluate how to best educate policy makers about the contributions and needs of US family businesses. The FEUSA board of directors has developed a strategic alliance with the Policy and Taxation Group to expand the annual FEUSA Family Business Survey and the organization’s outreach in Washington. Led by a team of dedicated directors, FEUSA concentrates all of its efforts on conducting and sharing this important research with legislators on Capitol Hill.