Good news is rarely considered newsworthy, with the media fixated on crises and tragedies. Ultimately, they are merely mirroring the interests of the public whose appetite for such bad tidings is insatiable. While none of us would wish misfortune upon our fellow man, we lap up the ensuing news coverage when such calamities occur. As a case in point, consider the London riots, the Norway massacre and every other sombre event to have dominated the headlines in 2011.
Similarly, in the business world, positive news stories can easily be obscured by the more disastrous ones that dominate proceedings. One small slice of good news that appears to have been overlooked by the mainstream media is the success of the UK’s family-run businesses. According to the Institute for Family Business, such companies took in over £35.5bn last year and saw sales increase by 10.2%.
Family businesses aren’t some insignificant tranche of the British economy either, it should be noted, with more than a third of the country’s GDP a result of their endeavours. Such news is to be welcomed, both for the family businesses themselves and the economy as a whole.
At this juncture, it may be prudent to ask why exactly family businesses appear to be bucking the trend, prospering while the rest of the industry is stagnating. For one reason, family businesses tend to work harder, putting in longer hours than their peers and often sacrificing bonuses they may be entitled to for the sake of the company. Such loyalty and tireless dedication is difficult to foster among employees who aren’t intrinsically linked with their employer by a familial bond.
Naturally, all but the smallest of family-owned businesses don’t just employ their own kin; as a business prospers and grows, it’s simply not feasible to continue expanding one’s own family at a similar rate. Given that the majority of employees in a medium-sized family business won’t share the same gene pool, why are they so motivated to succeed? It would seem that staff are more loyal to family-run businesses, and feel more secure in their jobs which in turn spurs them to work harder; essentially they are ‘part of the family’.
When such firms seek business financing, to fuel expansion or fulfill a glut of new orders, they are also more likely to be granted the funding they require, be it a straight forward business loan or more innovative forms of business finance such as selective invoice discounting or spot factoring. Of course, merely stating that you are a family-owned business is unlikely to curry much favour with the business advisor you are courting for finance. Nevertheless, if you are one of the many British family-run businesses to have enjoyed growth in the last year, this statistic alone is likely to stand you in good stead.
Who needs family ties when you’ve got cold hard statistics to back you up?
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