Qu’est-ce qu’une entreprise familiale ?

What is a family business?

What is a family business and what is behind this term?

In this somewhat forbidding period of confinement, nothing beats a little intellectual stimulation to break out of routine. Today's reflection is formulated as follows:

What is a family business? Why is this an interesting criterion?

Argalys is a family business, we have some certainties on this subject : even if with only 20 years of existence, we are still at an early stage of our development compared to other companies.

For example, the famous American brand Johnson & Johnson also presents itself as “ A family company” .

We are obviously flattered to belong to the same category as this more than century-old group, generating some 80 billion USD in turnover with more than 100,000 employees worldwide and listed on the New York Stock Exchange!

We might as well admit it: Johnson & Johnson is a little ahead of Argalys, but we haven't said our last word: see you in 2120!

Furthermore, there is no doubt that Johnson & Johnson was a family business but it no longer presents the characteristics of one today (no more managers from the founders and the company's capital is 'scattered').

On the other hand, we can cite among the leaders of the genre, the group Mars.
Slightly smaller than Johnson & Johnson and founded at the beginning of the 20th century, the Mars group is today chaired by Ms. Victoria Mars, who began her career in an operational position in Haguenau in Alsace and whose capital remains mastered by its founding family!


But if not all family businesses experience such spectacular development as the famous confectioner, each region conceals true champions of longevity and the transmission of know-how and passion.

Let us cite for example the Poteries Remmy in Alsace, founded in 1594, Larrieu Frères in Bordeaux, founded in 1622 or the Soierie Roze in Touraine (1650) still in activity, still within the family and still at the forefront of quality in their domain: completely respectable models!

The characteristics of a family business

Without being able to claim such recognition given its short history, Argalys shares with these companies 3 characteristics which seem relevant to us for the term family business to have meaning, or more precisely for it to be associated with a rewarding form of entrepreneurship, a guarantee of reliability for its partners, customers and employees .

1. A team for a common story

The team and the history, two essential criteria for the family business.

A team and history reflect this origin and this results in the majority of cases in good practice behavior respecting individuals and the commitments made.

In this area, contrary to the well-known adage: 'the end does not justify all means' when these do not conform to the values ​​stated above (we must not idealize beyond reason either: Pablo Escobar in Colombia also had a family business…). Ultimately this is reflected in the working methods originating from the initial family nucleus which are transmitted to employees over time and which define the personality and image (the way it is perceived by third parties) of the company.

2. The search for excellence in the products or services offered

By engaging your personal credibility, you must be able to guarantee real quality to your customers.

It is obvious that the cost price and the market are elements to take into account in the design of products or services, but the priority objective in their finality is superior quality, optimizing human and technological capacities and the knowledge of the moment .

3. A project that takes place over time

Having a family business means having a project that lasts over time.

This translates into stable and sufficient capital to guarantee the independence of company policy.
This capital is generated mainly by storing the results obtained, without disproportionate short-term financial obligations (borrowings, speculative shareholders) which are often handicaps for building a long-term strategy.

And how would you define a family business?