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Speed dating adviser event a hit with family businesses

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28 January 2014

Speed dating adviser event a hit with family businesses

A new speed dating type event for family businesses, which is designed to connect them with an array of advisers from lawyers to marketing specialists, has proved a hit at its South West launch. The Ask the Adviser event is the brainchild of Families in Business (FiB), the independent go-to support organisation for family businesses, and began its national roll-out in Bristol at the family-owned luxury hotel, Old Down Manor. The event’s South West launch follows the inaugural Ask the Adviser at Sutton Coldfield’s family-owned Newhall Hotel in the West Midlands. Dani Saveker, FiB CEO and founder, explains the concept is like speed dating for business: “The Ask the Adviser format is a little like speed dating, in that our family business guests can meet three or four advisers for a twenty-minute, one-to-one appointment. It is our fast-paced networking based concept specifically designed for busy family business owners, leaders and key team members.” In Bristol, representatives from family owned and run businesses voted it a highly useful experience that gave them the unique chance to meet with a number of hand-picked advisers specialising in sales, leadership, procurement, wealth planning, communication, marketing, insurance, finance, health, and the law. Keynote speakers at the event were Richard and Henry Williams of Williams Automobiles, a specialist dealership for British performance cars such as Morgan, and a 102-year old, fourth generation family business. “Feedback from the family businesses joining us in Bristol has been fantastic,” adds Dani, “with all of them agreeing the event’s concept is a time-efficient focused opportunity for them to gain succinct, impartial, relevant advice from advisers who have a tangible understanding of the unique challenges facing family businesses. “Feedback after the event gave our advisers an 86 percent satisfaction rating for their advice, with the family businesses stating they are 78 percent ‘definitely or very likely’ to follow up with the advisers they met in Bristol.” Amongst the advisers taking part in the event was Douglas Streatfield-James, Senior Associate at Burges Salmon LLP, who said: “It was an excellent event and a great chance to make new contacts without any pressure. I would recommend it to businesses as a great way to meet a range of advisers who may be able to help, in an environment where the focus is entirely on how to help and support family businesses.” Also taking part was Mel Beeby-Clark, Director of Bristol-based Ambitious PR, who said: "I wasn't sure what to expect and went with an open mind of a few conversations with people about their business challenges. It turned out to be so much more, with attendees talking specifically about their business and plans for PR and marketing. We met with lots of really interesting, like-minded people, and felt a real connection with the individuals there." After the event, Richard Williams said: “Families in Business is an innovative organisation. Every family business without a succession plan should be a member. Even if they have a plan to chat things over with an experienced business team that really understands, FiB is a must." Two in every three private enterprises in the UK is a family business, and collectively employ in the region of 9.2 million people, and contribute almost a quarter of all GDP every year. In the South West there are approximately 250,000 family-owned businesses, representing almost two-thirds of all the private enterprises in the region. “The FiB community helps family businesses gain perspective; it is critical to have reassurance and by being part of FiB, peer support,” adds Dani.  “Our Ask the Adviser events bring together expertise and support in an enjoyable, relaxed session that enables family businesses to connect with like-minded individuals and advisers. We have a national programme of these fun and effective events for 2014, with the next in Nottingham in April, followed by Yorkshire, Cheshire and the Black Country.” The FiB Ask the Adviser events are raising funds for charity Help Harry Help Others (HHHO) and to date has raised £250. For more information about Ask the Adviser, Nottingham: http://www.fibcommunity.com/ask-the-adviser-nottingham/