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Family business specialist discusses how low investment in mid-sized businesses adds to interest rate gloom

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23 October 2014

Family business specialist discusses how low investment in mid-sized businesses adds to interest rate gloom

Specialist adviser to UK family businesses, Dani Saveker, speaking alongside Bank of England chief economist Andrew Haldane last week, said the falling value of the pound and gloomy prospects for the economy are exacerbated by the lack of investment for future growth and sustainability in and by mid-sized businesses.

Speaking at the Kenilworth Chamber of Trade in Warwickshire, Saveker, founder and CEO of membership and consultancy organisation Families in Business (FiB) said: “Support at local and national government level is still lacking when it comes to medium sized businesses and private enterprises, of which 2 in 3 are family run or owned firms in the UK. “Family businesses need to invest in R&D – although according to our latest survey*, an alarming 41 percent have no plans for innovation - and work with independent and public sector advisers that add value to their operations and ambitions, to take advantage of and keep step with the pace at which the world is changing, which is at an unprecedented rate. “We know the vast majority, 86 percent, of the UK’s family businesses are optimistic about the next 12 months, believing business and the economy will be better than the last 12 months, but they continue to be challenged by poor communication, attracting and retaining skills and talent, and knowing what growth and success actually looks like, which prevents them grasping opportunities. Many family firms simply don’t have the right ‘engine’ to drive the vehicle, including the most simple components such as robust systems and processes for developing the business in the 21st Century, seemingly carrying on in the same way as when the business was started by their ancestors. This problem is hampered by the lack of financial and professional support made available to them.”

At the event, Saveker spoke of her personal journey in business, especially her experiences of being the fourth generation to lead her family’s manufacturing business, which led her to create FiB and provide a go-to place for medium-sized businesses to turn to for support, guidance and professional advice, which was a notable missing network when she was CEO of a private business. “There are three million family businesses in the UK,” she explained, “which together employ over nine million people, contribute almost a quarter of all GDP to the UK economy and have a combined annual turnover of £1.1 trillion. Clearly the sector has a significant role in the UK’s economic sustainability, and more needs to be done to support them in realising, and exploiting, their full potential so they can maintain their vital role, and cast some light on the gloomy prospects being cited for the economy. “It’s vital that all private enterprises, especially family businesses, stay relevant to the changing world and economy, and maintain awareness of the good, bad and ugly of the opportunities and threats for their business,” said Saveker. At the same event, Andrew Haldane, Chief Economist at the Bank of England, gave a speech on the UK economy.  The full text and press release are available here:

http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/publications/Pages/speeches/2014/764.aspx FiB delivers focused consultancy, membership, events and tools tailored to the needs of family and owner managed businesses across the UK, and in its latest step in a rapid national roll-out campaign, is launching with a dedicated new team in the North West. Family businesses can request a copy of *The FiB 2014-15 Annual Guide, which identifies the main professional and personal issues affecting the individuals working in a family business, visit: www.fibcommunity.com.  Taking part in the survey that is the basis of the report, were family businesses from across the UK, representing all industries and market sectors, second to tenth generation family firms, ranging in size from £1million to over £100 million annual turnover.   Photo shows: Dani Saveker and Andrew Haldane at the Kenilworth Chamber event. Image credit: Fireflywm