<div style="display:inline;"> <img height="1" width="1" style="border-style:none;" alt="" src="//googleads.g.doubleclick.net/pagead/viewthroughconversion/1028731116/?value=0&amp;guid=ON&amp;script=0">
6 ISSUES FOR £6 Subscribe to Surrey Life today click here

Family businesses facing tech challenges need to ‘reboot’ and show their resilience

PUBLISHED: 10:15 20 April 2017 | UPDATED: 10:15 20 April 2017

Getty Images/iStockphoto

Getty Images/iStockphoto

ipopba

There are more family businesses in the South East of England than any other area of the UK. They form an important part of the UK economy and - just like other businesses, across all sectors, they are affected by fast-changing technology.

With family businesses, however, there can be even greater challenges on how best to embrace the digital age. Finding family members who have the skills to lead the business in this accelerating global economy can be difficult. Embracing innovation and encouraging a smooth transition to the next generation needs to be a priority.

As an advisor to family businesses I was keen to explore how family firms have approached such challenges. Charles Russell Speechlys has recently commissioned some in-depth research into this topic involving leading academics, national and international family businesses and their advisors. The resulting research report, entitled “The Connected Generation: Rebooting family business succession for the digital age” makes interesting reading. The most surprising finding, in my view, is that in many ways our research debunks the general stereotype that technology is the remit of the ‘next generation.’ Family business owners are keen to respond to the challenges of the digital economy and are largely aware that innovation gives family firms great opportunities to ensure that the next generation engages with the business.


Embracing Technological Change

It is fair to say that younger family members are connected to their peers and an increasingly globalised world through social media and a network of technologies. They rely on Facebook, Instagram and other social media channels and communicate in a very different way to older generations. Younger family members understand how consumption patterns are changing and they can spot where the family business is lacking the expertise it needs to develop in a particular area.


Adapting to Change

It is not the pace of technological change which seems the biggest area of concern to the future of family businesses. Attitudes are shifting: members of this connected generation may not want to just follow the well-trodden path into the family business - there are more opportunities out there for them and they may not receive a huge amount of credit from their peers for just following in Mum and Dad’s footsteps. The most important thing is for members of the different generations to have strong and open communications about their future plans and the opportunities ahead. Family businesses have survived, and prospered, in times of major change, and will continue to do so.


Driving the Business Forward

The overriding message from our research is that honest and open conversations between all generations are critical to sustaining a future for the family firm. In order to keep innovating and make a success of transition to future generations, family businesses must:

1. Make transition more collaborative so that the next generation feel they can make a difference and test their ideas.

2. Create a framework to introduce potential next generation leaders to the business and manage the complex legal and emotional issues involved in transition.


Bringing the Next Generation into Your Business

We have also produced a comprehensive guide - “Connecting generations: a guide for entrepreneurs and family businesses” - which examines the legal and governance issues faced by family businesses at different stages of their development and offers some practical guidance, particularly around the area of succession.


Five practical tips to bring the next generation into your family business

1. Teach them by example when they are young - its never too early to start - pay them to work in the business at weekends or in the holidays.

2. Send them on a ‘next gen’ course to teach them relevant leadership and entrepreneurial skills.

3. Listen to their passions and identify ways they can express them in the context of the business; see how the business can adapt to encourage their participation.

4. Ask them to help you solve a technology related problem or run a social media campaign; give them ownership of it and the resources to do it.

5. If they say they don’t want to join the business now, try to avoid ultimatums; encourage them on their path and keep an open mind about where they might fit in the business later.


Charles Russell Speechlys is working with Family Business Place, a specialist advisory service to family businesses, to develop Growth Clubs for family businesses to enable local business leaders to meet and share and tackle their biggest challenges. The Guildford Growth Club launches in May, if you would like more information on this please contact charlotte.ford@crsblaw.com. 


Charles Russell Speechlys provides specialist insight and advice across the full spectrum of business and personal needs and can offer holistic legal support to businesses throughout their life-cycle. For more information please contact Sally Ashford on 01483 252525 or by email via sally.ashford@crsblaw.com.

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Surrey visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Surrey staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Surrey account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Surrey Life

Friday, May 18, 2018

This month we launch our annual photography competition, sponsored by Portmore Dental. The winners will be featured in our 2019 Beautiful Surrey calendar. Here are some inspirational shots submitted over the last month, alongside details of this year’s prizes and how to enter

Read more
Friday, May 18, 2018

We round up 10 of the most beautiful photos of Surrey shared on Instagram this week…

Read more
Thursday, May 17, 2018

This edition of Surrey Life features all the local ingredients to make this month special

Read more
Thursday, May 17, 2018

As well as viewing all the new and vibrant show content first, there’s plenty to do at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show Preview Evening on Monday 2 July from 5pm to 10.30pm.

Read more
Thursday, May 17, 2018

We are offering one lucky winner the chance to win a pair of tickets to see Fanfare and Fireworks with the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra at Hampton Court Palace

Read more
Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Whilst watching the high (or ‘low’ depending upon your perspective) lights of yet another Donald Trump press conference, my mind skipped back to when I was around five or six years old and my favourite toy was Action Man.

Read more
Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Grab your morning papers and head to one of these great Surrey eateries for breakfast

Read more
Tuesday, May 15, 2018

A lot of work goes into making the Surrey Hills AONB an enjoyable place for visitors to enjoy. We speak to six people who live and breathe the hills as part of their working lives

Read more
Monday, May 14, 2018

As this extraordinary piece of protected countryside celebrates 60 years since being designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, we look at the Surrey Hills through the ages

Read more
Monday, May 14, 2018

Here we take a look around our county at some of Surrey's very best coffee shops

Read more
Monday, May 14, 2018

One of the biggest foodie events in the Surrey calendar is back for 2018! Voting is open and this year’s event will take place at G Live, Guildford on Thursday 13 September 2018

Read more
Monday, May 14, 2018

Great things to do in Surrey this weekend: art exhibitions, walks, concerts, theatre, places to visit and other events and ideas.

Read more
Thursday, May 10, 2018

It’s the wedding season and that means one thing – a new outfit. Janet Reeder picks out the dresses and accessories with the wow factor

Read more
Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Move over Frankie Dettori, this Derby Day a new Frankie is set to be the talk of Epsom town. She’s glamorous, intelligent and loves a day out at Bocketts Farm; Lauren Stone meets Frankie Bridge – member of girl band The Saturdays, presenter, Strictly Come Dancing tar and this year’s Investec Derby Day ambassador

Read more
 
Great British Holidays advert link

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Surrey's trusted business finder

Job search in your local area



Property Search