Families in Business (FiB), the independent support organisation for family firms that was founded by family business specialist Dani Saveker in 2012, has joined the international firm, Shirlaws.
FiB becomes a 100% owned subsidiary of the Shirlaws Group.
FiB’s Dani Saveker remains at its helm as CEO, and becomes a shareholder and global partner of the Shirlaws Group.
“It is business as usual for FiB,” Dani explains. “FiB will continue to operate as it does today, but now benefits from being an integral family-business focused part of the international Shirlaws Group, which provides the resource and global network to enable FiB to grow faster in the UK and to realise its international expansion plans.
“The scale and importance of family business work, not just in the UK but worldwide, is vast. Such firms are the backbone of the global economy: we must find better ways to help and support them. That is why FiB was created in the first place. After three years, we have shaped and refined our approach and offer to those that influence the direction of the family and owner-managed business. Even in this relatively short time, we know we have had a positive impact on many lives and enterprises. But we haven’t even scratched the surface. Only 4% of UK family businesses have full succession plans in place - just one example of the need for help. Other issues family firms face include how to build a vision, improve communication, remove barriers, and ensure sustainability.
“Shirlaws is a global powerhouse and market-leader in supporting Private Enterprise businesses achieve their visions. Shirlaws has a passion for the worldwide family business sector. Its network brings additional benefits for the family businesses and professionals FiB works with, which can now access an established, diverse and pioneering portfolio of associated business channels within the Group, including digital, capital and coaching and consulting capabilities.”
Dani explains that being part of the Shirlaws Group means FiB can now realise its international potential and her own vision for the organisation: “My vision was always to be the go-to place for those in and around family businesses, and provide them with the necessary support to move forwards and feel supported – everything I needed myself when I was fourth generation CEO of my family’s business. This vision was initially in the UK, but always with an eye on international growth, starting with North America and Australasia. This was always a courageous and daring goal, but one I have always believed in.
“However, to achieve this vision requires resource and an operational structure that is bigger than FiB is currently. For some time I have considered the options, from outside investors to partnering with other organisations, but none had the emotional impact, compatible DNA and values I was seeking, nor were sufficiently neutral to ensure family businesses would continue to benefit from the support FiB has established they need.
“In my first meeting with Shirlaws’ founder Darren Shirlaw, similarities for our business and professional visions quickly became clear. We have spent many months exploring how a joined business could look, and ultimately establishing that we were beating with one heart.”
Dani admits that joining Shirlaws is a huge leap forward, but the timing is right: “Together we aim to provide outstanding support and a wider range of capabilities for family businesses across the UK and also international territories. As with so many business founders, we both want the best for the businesses we have created. FiB is in excellent shape to support the global family business sector, and I am delighted that FiB can now flourish within Shirlaws, and that I am able to steer its future as Global CEO.”
Anna Barton, Global Partner of Shirlaws Group, adds: “We are hugely excited to have FiB and Dani join our family. Dani and FiB bring depth of expertise in how family businesses work and live together. Family businesses are such an important part of the Private Enterprise sector requiring a unique understanding of how to support them to grow, fund and, if they desire, exit their businesses. The Shirlaws Group resources and network can help FiB expand its UK operations rapidly and scale globally.”
Photo shows (L to R) Adam Walker (Group Chairman, Shirlaws), Dani Saveker (FiB founder and now global partner of Shirlaws Group) and Darren Shirlaw (CEO and founder, Shirlaws Group).