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Plumbs Managing Director – Sarah Page joined a panel of two other local businesses to discuss the dynamics of working within a family run business.
"70% of businesses in the U.K. fall under the "family business" bracket"
This was the first event from the North West Family Business Association, and it's great that we could be a part of it. The session was hosted by Penny Haslam (a professional keynote speaker and conference host).
The session began with an introduction to the panel; Sarah spoke about being the 3rd generation within the Plumbs Company, working in each department at Head Office and eventually taking over as Managing Director in 2009. She began by working with her family on the market stall in the early days of Plumbs history from the age of 10, and briefly training to be a nurse in her teenage years before starting her career at Plumbs.
Next we heard from Kit, who along with his siblings started the Seven Bro7hers Brewery, which produce craft beers. This passion for beer came from their father who was a keen home brewer, and after Kits career as a teacher wasn't going to plan, he and his brothers decided to take a risk and begin their own company. Today there are 3 active brothers within the company however he went on to explain that they all still input their ideas when necessary.
Image - manchestereveningnews.co.uk
The third panellist was Daniel Turner from William Turner & Son. Daniel began working with his father at the company fresh from university. He is now the 2nd generation after the company was established in 1969.
Image - william-turner.co.uk
The session went on with Penny asking about the benefits and drawbacks about working within a family business..
The panel felt the main benefit of working for a family business was there was much more freedom to explore fresh ideas. One of the event sponsors - Gorvins Solicitors say this on their blog…
“Flexibility – Notwithstanding the fact that family business often stay close to the core of their business, one of the unique factors of family businesses is their ability to be flexible and react quickly. “
They went on to discuss how the culture of a family led business differs from other companies where the structure and departments may stop new projects and ideas from progressing as quickly.
Maintaining a good work/life balance was seen as the only drawback, as it can be easy to carry on the discussions about the day when you leave the office. A member of the audience asked if the panel had any tips on how to combat this, Sarah Page expressed that she allows herself half an hour at the end of each work day to discuss any issues and then that's it – her family must switch off from the work and concentrate on home life.
One of the other major topics Penny covered was the route in which they saw their company’s going, and whether they had any plans on succession within the family. The entire panel mentioned that they hoped their children would join the business (if not already); however it was important not to pressure them about their future.
This morning was an interesting insight into how other business' work and how they plan to grow with their family heritage in mind. It was also interesting to see how other companies in completely different industries worked when run by family members.