What makes a successful family business?

3 May 2019

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What are the common features that successful family-owned businesses share and why do some family businesses succeed over the generations where others flounder?

Alistair Hunt, a partner with many years’ experience of supporting family owned businesses shares his thoughts.

  1. Deliver excellent customer service
    Know your customers and what they want from you. Be versatile and proactive to provide them solutions that allow you to grow and develop with them. Do not compromise the service and go the extra mile for your customers. Ensure that you stay close to market trends so that you can take opportunities and avoid adverse movements.
  2. Work with the best
    Surround yourself with good people. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking your decisions are always best. You will never be the best at every aspect of your business simply because your family founded the business. You may steer the ship, but you probably won’t be the best qualified to fix it if it springs a leak.
  3. Broaden the family experience
    It is invaluable for family members, as part of their training and development (we all need it) to step out into the wider world and gain experience of other businesses and other sectors. Family members should look to other companies for experience before joining the business and/or training programs that network them to others for experience and knowledge sharing.
  4. Don’t be afraid of change
    The only thing we can be certain of in this world is change. The marketplace, your sector, the economy, your workforce, your product or service – nothing will remain constant. Change always presents opportunities for businesses. Embrace that change, trust in your people if you work with the best, and take measured risks.
  5. Have a common vision
    Set out a clear strategy and vision so that your team, clients and suppliers know what you are doing. People want to know where they are going and why. Gaining their buy in is essential if you want to make your vision a reality. Set out the vision, let your teams debate how to deliver it and build a business plan that they co own. Share that vision with your stakeholders.

Found out more about how we work with family businesses.

Contact Us

Alistair Hunt
Partner, Peterborough

Key experience

Alistair is Head of Entrepreneurs at Saffery and advises clients through the different cycles of business, from set up to...