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Want a business that lasts? Start one with family

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. (AP) -- If you want to go into business during tough economic times, you might want to do it with family.

Some family businesses are more resilient during downturns because they focus on the long term and are committed to their customers and employees, according to University of Vermont business school professor Pramodita Sharma (Prah-MOE-dee-tah SHAR-mah).

What differentiates family from non-family enterprises is the significant influence of family in the business. Family members work not only for the current generation, but also the future, Sharma says.

According to the Family Business Institute, 90 percent of U.S. businesses are family-owned. Some giants got their start as family businesses including retailer Wal-Mart and automaker Ford.

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