Western Pensions Solutions were delighted to be a sponsor of the recent Scottish Family Business Road Trip that was organised by Family Business United (‘FBU’). The Family Business Road Trip is an innovative event that gets ‘behind the scenes access to family firms, the family and management teams that run them, and provides a great way to fully appreciate the challenges facing family firms today. The Scottish leg of the Road Trip took place in the last two weeks of March and included visits to family firms that included Golden Gasket, Porrelli’s Ice Cream, Johnston’s of Elgin, The Malcolm Group, Robertson Group, AC Whyte & Co, Macsween and others.
As our own Mike Kennedy, Director of WPS in Scotland explains, “For the last two weeks of March I was delighted to join Paul Andrews of FBU on their second Family Business Road Trip in Scotland. The trip included visits to numerous fantastic family firms throughout central Scotland and the Borders. This trip wasn’t about the day job of pensions consultancy, but was about getting fully immersed in the day jobs of those running family businesses, understanding their history, current challenges and what makes them tick.”
As Mike continues, “There was huge variety in the size and sector of businesses that we visited ranging from a smaller manufacturer of pizza’s to a luxury manufacturer of ice cream, a timber manufacturer, luxury cashmere producer, civil engineering contractor, transport and logistics business and the guardians of Scotland’s national dish, Macsween of Edinburgh to give a flavour of some of the businesses involved.”
Running a business in the current political and economic climate is far from easy and despite there being such a diverse group of businesses visited, many common themes emerged across them all. As Mike continues, “Clearly, family firms value their staff and it is the staff that help to deliver the family values in the work that they do on a daily basis. People were at the heart of each businesses success, with many innovative employee well-being initiatives being adopted, the benefits of which were clear to see on the factory tours we undertook. The sense of community was also evident for those businesses, notably those who have been based in the same area for generations, with many different examples of family firms giving development opportunities to local school kids, often from disadvantaged backgrounds.”
Succession planning remains on the family business agenda too. As Mike adds, “Succession planning was clearly high on the agenda for most businesses. This went beyond the succession of the business to family members to include the succession of key members of staff whose experience and skill are vital to the future success of the business. There was also a clear desire to create a legacy and ensure that the actions of the current generation provide lasting value to allow the businesses continue for years to come, not just for the family but for the broader ‘family’ of employees who are just as committed to the success of the business.”
Overall the trip gave a fascinating insight to a wide variety of successful family businesses in Scotland and will add new flavour to the discussions and appreciation of the challenges facing our clients too. As Mike concludes, “This was a thoroughly enjoyable learning experience that was made all the more beneficial by the openness with which each of the families discussed their business stories.”
Find out more about the 2019 Family Business Road Trip on twitter using the hashtag #FamilyBizRoadTrip.
Western Pension Solutions
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WESTERN PENSION SOLUTIONS LIMITED IS A LIMITED COMPANY REGISTERED IN ENGLAND. COMPANY REGISTRATION NO. 11717816.
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