Friday, September 18th, 2015

Happy National Family Business Day!

It's a pivotal moment to recognise yourself as a family business. We only identified ourselves as a family business whilst studying at University of Adelaide where we were introduced to the Family Business Issues & Perspectives subject.  

The advantages associated with the culture of a family business can be immensely positive and provide great strength. At the same time there are also considerations such as succession planning and constitutions which can have huge impacts on the business if not considered thoroughly.

What defines a Family Business?

Some of the companies you may have regular contact with and haven’t recognised as family businesses include Haighs Chocolates, Coopers Brewery, Rossi Boots, San Remo, Nippy’s Fruit Juices, Wallis Cinemas, Charlesworth Nuts and Seeley International.

Most food companies are family businesses. Many retailers are family business. Ikea is a family business on a global scale! Conveyancers, Real Estate agencies, Wineries and print companies…largely family businesses!

There is a general understanding that a business owned and managed by a nuclear family is a family business. More specifically, during our studies we adopted a broad definition:

  • A single family or group of families which are relatives of the founding family member(s) control more than 50 percent of the shares of the business, and
  • One or more of the family members has significant influence over the strategic direction and management of the firm.

Resources for the family business sector

You may not know that there is a Family Business Association. As members, we can access regular professional development, state & national conferences and referrals to consultants and corporations who specialise in this unique sector.

What support may family businesses look for?

There are a wide range of considerations that are unique to family business structures. Succession planning in particular requires careful consideration. Every family has a different approach to this but the earlier in the piece you start these conversations and planning, the better for everyone involved.  Managing expectations for all parties is essential. Do you intend to hand the business to your children? Would you like them to gain experiences outside of the family business before accepting the role? Do they aspire to run the family business or do they have different plans for their future which doesn’t include being tied to the family business?

Defining the business and the family as separate structures is healthy for both cells. It is important to keep both operating effectively and separately where possible. Keeping family issues out of the business can be very difficult but important for successful business growth. Likewise, trying to keep business concerns and discussions around the boardroom table and not the dining room table will provide the family with some respite and an opportunity to enjoy their time as a family unit.

So with Family businesses accounting for around 70% of all businesses in Australia, it’s a great day to say a big THANK YOU to this wonderful sector.

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Openbook Howden Design & Print

Innovative print and design company.

Proudly South Australian, family owned business supporting manufacturing & industry as active members of the community.

Providing a range of progressive print and communications services.

Sarah Leo
P: 08 8124 0023
M: 0409 093 684


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