25 March 2014
Families in Business launches in Leicester
Family businesses from across the East Midlands gathered to attend the Leicester launch event of advisory network Families in Business (FiB),which provides specialist services, membership and support to family-run firms.
Representatives from more than 30 businesses heard guest speaker Charles Smith of Shoe Zone (pictured) and FiB founder and chief executive Dani Saveker discuss their personal experiences of being part of a family run company.
PKF Cooper Parry, FiB’sofficial wealth and accountancy partner in the East Midlands was also at the event to provide advice to family businesses. Other advisers involved were Spearing Waite LLP, the Leicester legal partner to FiB.
Dani Saveker said at the event: “Working with family can be one of the most rewarding things ever, but equally there will be many issues to face along the way – that is why we wanted to use today as a platform to share experiences and come together as people who are all part of this extraordinary and growing network of family businesses.”
Charles Smith, one of the owners of Shoe Zone, told the success story of the Leicester-based family firm which since 1980 has grown to now own over 550 stores. “I have always been able to compartmentalise business life and family life – I am lucky in that working with my brother has been one of the best things about being in the business.
“My advice to other family companies would be to plan for the future – you are not going to last forever so there needs to be some succession planning. It’s often one of the issues that family firms find tough to address but it needs to be done.”
All attendees at the event were asked to rate their biggest business challenge - coming joint first was growth strategy and succession planning, communications was second, relationships third, and ownership fourth.
Kevin Harris, partner at PKF Cooper Parry and FiB ambassador said: “As advisors to family businesses we sometimes find that our clients can have more open and honest conversations with us than they feel able to with their family colleagues. It’s these kinds of sensitivities that we always take into account when dealing with family firms and why we felt it was important to become involved in FiB.”
Martin Smith partner and head of corporate from Spearing Waite LLP said: “Given that 77% of businesses in the region are family owned, there’s definitely a need for a network that they can lean on and receive tailored advice and support which meets their very specific needs.”
The event took place at the Bentley Showroom, Syston.