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National Family Business Day: How your beloved business can be resilient in times of a pandemic

Every September, Australia commemorates National Family Business Day to celebrate the invaluable contribution family businesses make to the Australian economy, community, and culture. 

On September 17, family businesses throughout Australia and New Zealand will bring all generations together with other family members and colleagues (both online and in the workplace, depending on local COVID-19 restrictions) to acknowledge the year that has passed and look forward to the future of their family business.

Greg Griffith is the CEO of Family Business Australia & New Zealand. He applauded family businesses for their commitment and dedication to the next generation whilst contributing to the greater Australian and New Zealand culture, 

“Family Businesses contribute to the Australia and New Zealand economy like no other business sector. It is great to be able to celebrate this National Family Business Day,” he said.

Dynamic business spoke with Mr Griffith about the significance of National Family Business Day, the impact of COVID-19, and how Australians can help family businesses. 

“National Family Business Day is the one day a year where family businesses are celebrated and acknowledged for their significant contribution to the Australian and New Zealand economy.

Mr Griffith also explained why National Family Business Day is so important, “All family businesses, no matter how little or huge, have one thing in common; they all have a family business story to tell.

“Whether they’re a multi-generation business, a dynamic husband and wife duo or siblings – each of their businesses is interwoven with their family values and ethos.” 

In addition, family businesses aren’t solely focused on making money. Mr Griffith believes that such businesses are also creating a legacy and a future for their families. 

“Family businesses around Australia and New Zealand take the opportunity that National Family business day allows them to get together with their families and employees to enjoy morning tea or lunch, this year online and in person, and reflect on a challenging year and look towards a positive future.

“National Family Business Day is a chance to ask you, the Australian and New Zealand community, to support the family businesses that support your community and your families. 

“You can do this by looking out for the ‘A family-owned Australian/New Zealand business’ emblem on products, packaging and signage.”

Unique challenges

Mr Griffith, however, cautioned that family businesses may still be a double-edged sword because they are faced with their own set of challenges, many of which stem from managing the relationship between family (love), ownership (power), and business (dollars).

“Family dynamics often pose some of the biggest challenges for family business owners. It is incredibly important for businesses and families to keep relationships strong with solid communications skills, great conflict resolution ability, and that all parties have the same goals and aspirations.

“Further to managing the dynamics within a family business, it is also important for family businesses to ensure they have the right governance. 

“A well thought out governance structure will set the business up to assist in business decisions, create rules and policy that take the personal, and often an emotional decision, out of the thinking,” Mr Griffith concluded.

COVID-19 impact

According to a recent Family Business Survey, two out of every three family enterprises intend to keep the business in the family, despite the recent COVID-19 impacts on businesses. 

The Survey also revealed that transition-ready family companies with solid governance in place were more resilient during COVID-19 and are more likely to witness revenue growth in the next 12 months. 

“Eight in ten family businesses are forecasting growth in the next 12 months. It is pleasing to see this positive trend, considering family businesses make up approximately 70% of Australian businesses, our country needs these businesses to prop up our economy.”

Highlighting the importance of strong governance, Mr Griffith remained optimistic about the future of family businesses,

“Family Business Australia and Family Business New Zealand recently conducted the Family Business Survey 2021, in collaboration with Grant Thornton, that showed family businesses are looking positive for the future, especially those family businesses that are transition ready with good governance. 

Sharing experiences

When asked for some advice to family business owners on how to strengthen their business, Mr Griffith stressed the importance of communicating and sharing experiences while focusing on the governance structure of the business. 

“Firstly, join us at Family Business Australia and Family Business New Zealand to meet your peers and other family businesses that are experiencing the same challenges that you are. Learn from their failures and successes – you don’t need to do it alone.

“Secondly, look at your governance structure, no matter how big or small you are. It is important to set your family business up professionally from the start. Talk to one of our accredited or specialist accredited advisors who can help a family in this area – they are the experts.

“Family business Australia and Family Business New Zealand are here to help support your family business to thrive and proposer – reach out and discuss with our team how we can help your family business, Mr Griffiths continued.

“As part of National Family Business Day, we would like to acknowledge the latest inductees to the Family Business Hall of Fame were announced in May at the family Business State Conferences.”

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Yajush Gupta

Yajush Gupta

Yajush is a journalist at Dynamic Business. He previously worked with Reuters as a business correspondent and holds a postgrad degree in print journalism.

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