IN TEN YEARS WHAT HAVE I LEARNED?

This year marks 10 years since Family Business Place was founded.  At the time, like many others of us working at international and global level, the mere mention of family business conjured up phrases such as: mom and pop, arguing relatives, small minded, regional, local business. butcher, baker ….. In fact, you would never aspire to work for a family business. Success as a smart, bright, young thing equated with getting a job with the large corporates, and for my part becoming Art Director at a national magazine in the heart of Soho.

They say things happen for a reason. And it all began with an invitation to a family business conference in Bristol. There I was enchanted, moved and excited about the stories of creativity, innovation, adversity, challenges, family relationships, business dynamics, world class, all the while being community centred. I was hooked. The day also produced its fair share of tears and high emotions.

With my marketing hat on and notwithstanding that my daughter Amalia worked alongside me, I got to thinking – something is needed to galvanise the sheer power, influence, capacity for employment, networking, sharing, giving,  back, community standing and so much more.

Ten years on, I am proud that we seem to have made it ‘cool’ to be a family business. How can this not be with fantastic enterprises such as VivoBarefoot, Izzy Wheels, Seven Brothers and 4 Sisters Brewers, Bremont, Baby Salon, Pentland, Pimlico Plumbers, BooHoo, Deliciously Ella and and more. With three National Conferences always a sell out; The National Family Business Awards being the jewel in the crown in the Family Business Calendar, we’ve attracted family run business owners who are proud to be called family owned, they are ambitious and attractive to work for; overflowing with expertise and craftsmanship. Importantly they provide regional jobs where family and work can be juggled and enjoyed for a better, flexible work life balance.

What have I learned is I have a heart that is bursting with pride in knowing these heroes personally. When I’ve needed a speaker, a connection, a mentor, an ambassador for family business I have only ever had to ask. Now working with two of my daughters Amalia and Olympia alongside my husband Steve and son in-law Nick as well as our adopted family Sue, we have a dream to be change makers for the family business community. To raise their profile as the true backbone of the UK and Irish economy. To help them be known as giants of industry. Our membership launched this year allows us to ask what is needed from us, how to trade with each other, access advice around business succession and of course when family dynamics can harm both the family and the business beyond repair. One is not without the other and conflict is part and parcel of being a family run enterprise. I want to thank our supporters and ambassadors who have been there when we sometimes questioned ourselves. We have a long way to go, but I am assured we are making a difference. Get in touch, find out more and join the movement.