Family Business Owners Long for Time Off

BOSTON ( TheStreet) -- Striking a balance between work and life is a constant battle for most of us. But for the thousands of Americans who run family businesses -- from the Johnsons of Fidelity Investments to the moms and pops at the local pizza -- the issue is magnified because their officemates and life mates are one and the same.

It's not surprising that work/life balance was a major theme in a recent family-owned business report by Harris Interactive ( HPOL) and MassMutual Financial, which surveyed 518 family business owners.

While participants cited communication challenges and succession planning as concerns, the inability to take a day off was a top complaint for 39% of respondents. This is a big issue for husband and wife teams such as Roni Kabessa and Kara Orr, who own and run Decor Craft, the Providence, R.I., company behind the "I am not a paper cup."

"This year was the first time in eight years that we went away together for two weeks," says Kabessa, managing director of 18-employee company. Kabessa agreed with the 58% of respondents who listed trusting your business partners as a key advantage to working with family members, but noted the drawbacks of a married executive team. "A banker once mentioned to us that when we fly together, it's 100% of the company in the air."

Among those surveyed, 56% said they were concerned about how a death in the family would affect their business, but 41% hadn't crafted a legally documented succession plan. Only 39% said they had such a plan. "Both of us are in our 40s, so we never really think about it right now," Kabessa says

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