Top tips from Iain Blakeley.
1. Just start now, if you haven’t already, yeah, never too early.
I would say, first of all, just start now, if you haven’t already, yeah, never too early. And if your kids are really young, then just start by talking to them about money, because they don’t learn about that stuff at school. And there are people out there and organizations who can help to start by talking to them about some of these things and, and role modeling the right behaviors around, you know, work, work ethic, and setting goals and being diligent and having fun and respect for other people. And you know, all that sorts of things you’d want. So start right away.
2. Do the housekeeping.
Do the housekeeping. So deal with these, the kids are older. And so there’s some of those kind of grumblings beneath the surface, sense of inequality or anything that might be festering away, get, bring it to the surface, deal with it. And move on.
3. Just keep working on the trust and communication around the family.
Thirdly is just keep working on the trust and communication around the family keep, keep finding ways to get together, be conscious of what hats you’re wearing. So when you are together. And when you’re having a family barbecue. You’re Not You don’t talk about the business at the, at the Christmas barbecue or whatever. You’re just all mum, dad, brother, sister, that sort of thing.
business, family, family member, founder, trust, people, deal, new zealand, important, share, discussions, role, succession, sorts, started, kids, organization, next generation, absolutely, view
Debra Chantry-Taylor 00:00
If you’ve got somebody who’s sitting in a role, who’s the uncle, the rd the brothers, whatever it might be, who’s not performing well in that role that starts to create a an animosity, if you like, throughout the organization? And how come? How come Debra gets away with that, you know, if it was me, I wouldn’t. So I’m gonna be very, very careful that you’re managing them in the same way that you would manage any other employee in the business and that they’re being measured on what they do.
Iain Blakeley 00:21
That’s right. Yeah. And I see, you know, I see families who, when they’re grappling with these sorts of things, they they will develop an employment policy. And the policy might say, for example, that one family member can never report to another family member. So they should always be reporting to a non family.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 00:39
Say hello, and welcome to another episode of Better Business Better Life. Today, I’m joined by Ian Blakely, who is in New Zealand, Chairperson of the Family Business Association. Welcome Iain.
Iain Blakeley 00:49
Thank you, Debra. It’s lovely to be here. And thank you for the opportunity to talk about something I’m very passionate about you me
Debra Chantry-Taylor 00:55
So could we talk about family businesses today. And that’s something I know we both share a common passion. Tell me about your journey into getting into family businesses?
Iain Blakeley 01:06
Well, I have gone into them as an advisor. And I started out advising family businesses, when I was a partner at one of the big four accounting firms, and I kind of was a natural progression of the work I was doing there I was. So I was I was advising from a tax perspective, mainly a whole lot of New Zealand family businesses. And as often happens, when you’re in a role like that, in a firm like that, the conversations with the family business owners tend to extend beyond just the specialist topic, but yet, you know, you’re there to advise them about and you become a much kind of a broader adviser to them, and more are sort of a bit of a second opinion, or a wise heat or, or whatever you want a mentor or whatever you want to call it, but just someone who is able to share, you know, a reasonably broad range of experience with with your clients. And so I found myself advising family business owners on a range of things. And then we started to look more closely at, you know, the succession issues with family businesses. And New Zealand was going from, you know, being a heading, sort of family business paradigm where owners would you know, that the beach, the beach, and the BMW sort of thing when I get in their 40s, and that they had it all and I’d sell their business and go to the beach and play golf, you know, but that wasn’t happening anymore. And people were thinking longer term, and they were more concerned about, you know, what’s next generation going to inherit? What what does the world look like for them? What security are we leaving for them? What are we doing for our communities? What’s this money all about? What’s it for? So you know, that those sorts of discussions started to take place more and so I that I was doing that work when I was at this firm, and then I left and went to do my own thing. And I realized I, I needed to learn more from other family businesses. And there was nothing in New Zealand really to tap into, there was no organization that that represented them solely.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 03:11
Because there’s quite a lot of family businesses here in New Zealand isn’t.
Iain Blakeley 03:13
There are loads and and there are lots of different business organizations and you know, a member organizations that deal with different aspects of being in business. But there was no entity, no member organization that had dealt exclusively with family businesses. And I asked some of my family business clients, you know, what, you know, what is something that we could do for you, you know, what, what do you mean, oh, my staff. And they said, Well, we really want to meet other family businesses, you know, it can be lonely in business. You get to meet your suppliers and your customers, but you don’t really have those conversations with other family business owners about the sorts of issues that that you know, you have as a family business owner.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 03:55
And it’s different to being an ordinary sort of business owner, a family business has far more dynamics, and it’s not even like you can talk to your local, you know, private business that is not family out, it is quite a different dynamic isn’t.
Iain Blakeley 04:08
Yes. And, I mean, there are a lot of things that are the same. For sure. It’s totally, it’s different when you have family members working on the business. You know, there’s, they’re not just they’re wearing so many different hats. No, they’re not just brothers and sisters and daughters and fathers and mothers and sons and uncles and nephews and things. They’re, they’re wearing hats as employees as as fellow directors as trustees. Now, there’s so many things going on and and you overlay the family dynamic of emotion over the top of law, and it’s, you know, it’s a pretty interesting space.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 04:46
And I was saying to you, we want to
Iain Blakeley 04:48
Family businesses and I and I wanted to get better as a family business advisor and I wanted to meet other family business advisors, as well as businesses. So I’ve heard of this organization in Australia or the family business, family business Australia, now called the Family Business Association. And I went to one of the conferences, and I was just blown away by the quality of the material. They had international speakers, you know, top people who specialize in family business advice from around the world, as well as some amazing family businesses from Australia and, and other parts of the world. All speaking, sharing these stories, which is what it’s all about, it’s how they learn. And then mingling, and mixing afterwards and having the social, you know, social time and having fun together. And it was incredibly powerful. And I learned more in a week that than I had in the previous couple of years, so I thought I want more of us. And they were interested in doing something in New Zealand. And so we, you know, we we worked with them to set up a similar organization in New Zealand, which is, was called family business, New Zealand now called the New Zealand in a family business association. And we’re a member based organization, mostly family business members, and some advisors who specialize in advising family businesses. And our job is to just connect family businesses with other family businesses, provide a vehicle for them to share their stories, provide a vehicle for some of that expert knowledge to be passed on through education programs, and also a vehicle for people to have fun.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 06:34
Fantastic. Now, you kind of started on that journey back in 2017 – 18. And I think you launched the first of July 2019. So how many members have you got in the organization now?
Iain Blakeley 06:44
We have 120. Members now. And so we, you know, we were pretty happy with it with it’s good. And we’re always, you know, trying to get the story out trying to get more members, we, we tend to find that people come along to our events. And that’s how they find out about us. It’s how they get to know other family businesses. And they might come to two or three, and then they decide you don’t want to do more for someone to join, say, one of our forum groups, which are probably our most considered being the most valuable thing that we do. Really, I think.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 06:46
Yeah. That’s when you get together with other family business owners. Yeah, you totally environmentally, isn’t.
Iain Blakeley 07:21
This, right? Yeah. So they join a group. There’ll be seven or eight, and a group there. They’re not competitors. And they meet regularly, they set their own agenda, they have a facilitator, they decide what they want to discuss, and where they want to do it, and whether they just want to have a social time, occasionally, or whatever. And, and the discussions as the trust builds over time, it’s discussions get more and more and more valuable and more important to them. And they form a bond, a really important bond.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 07:52
I was member of EA over about three and a half years a similar sort of setup, but it’s not for family businesses. And I think it was we all sort of back into the 5%, you don’t talk about with anybody else, once you’ve got that trust, you really have an opportunity to talk about things that nobody else will quite understand, or nobody else that you can trust to actually have that conversation with zero. I’m assuming the forums are the same.
Iain Blakeley 08:12
What happens here is that they mean, they share people, they share resources, they do deals, they say, Look, you know, I’m looking for an opportunity for one of my kids to have some work experience somewhere and they might go and work with one or the other ones Nice. Well, those sorts of things.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 08:27
Fantastic. Yeah. And you also work very close with the family business Australia as well, don’t you say you a lot of the things that I’ve done, as I’ve done in conjunction with so we can go into the family business conference over in Australia, if you want to we do the one over here? Yeah,
Iain Blakeley 08:39
Absolutely. We were under demeanor. You know, we need family business, Australia. It’s our parent organization provides a lot of the back office to us, we just couldn’t not have started this without them. And you know, whether their ongoing support is critical. They’ve got the they’ve got the agenda. They’ve got all the material teaching material, all the courses, all the experience. So yeah, we absolutely need them. They’re part and parcel of what we do.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 09:11
So you’ve been in front of us for a long, long time. What do you see as being the fundamental differences between an ordinary privately owned business or even a publicly owned business and a family business? What would you say the key differences are?
Iain Blakeley 09:25
I think the, you know, the emotion element is a big one. That’s that’s critical, because the family and the business are intertwined. And, you know, as we were talking about earlier, sometimes the, you know, the business is just another child of the parents. So, that’s, you know, that’s a big difference because it just causes them to think differently about business decisions.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 09:50
There’s a family history, we were doing some genealogy stuff yesterday, and it’s like talking about, you know, where did you actually come from, and who’s on what family what’s happened in that family. So all of that starts to come into In the business as well,
Iain Blakeley 10:02
Absolutely the discussion around, you know, what’s our legacy? Where were we going that I tend to have longer term views, perspectives, I make longer term investment decisions typically. Yep. Well, they may not. But that’s, you know, typically they do. And they’ve got to grapple with, with, you know, potential downsides, which is, you know, how do you fire a family member? How do you? How do you not employ one because they’re not quite right for the job? Or, you know, how do you avoid employing one because just because they’re a family member, which is the wrong reason, you know. So, you know, those, there are pitfalls. And then there are benefits, because often there’s, you know, there’s a level of trust, often that doesn’t exist as instantly and other businesses where non family members are working together. If you’ve, you’ve been brought up in the same household, ordinarily, there would be a pretty high level of trust there, which is important, and an understanding of each other. Yeah.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 11:07
So you’ve worked with a number of family businesses in your in your lifetime? What are the sorts of the pitfalls that they tend to fall into? In general terms, we’re not gonna talk about any of it specifically. But I will tell you what’s fascinating for me, going through and doing the accreditation work that I’ve been doing with you guys, through the Adelaide University was looking at the different family businesses around the world. And some of the biggest companies are actually family owned businesses. So the LM VHS of the world live returns, the Porsches, the Ferraris as a whole bunch of them. And I hadn’t realized that there’s that many family businesses, I think that we underestimate how many there actually are out there. But they do come with a very unique set of challenges, don’t they? So what have been the things you’ve seen, in your work with family businesses that are unique to a family business?
Iain Blakeley 11:54
I think there’s many, I think, probably the one that is, is the most, the one you want to avoid most, and the one that is most is the saddest as the potential for the business and the planning of the business in the last run, and its involvement in the family to destroy the family. Right. That’s the worst outcome. And that’s what you don’t want. But it can’t happen. And maybe that TV series that’s on at the moment, succession is a good example of having watched the house. Okay, yeah, you know, how that can happen? Yeah, totally dysfunctional.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 12:35
So basically, Murdoch isn’t really based on Rupert Murdoch.
Iain Blakeley 12:40
I don’t know. It’s a dramatization of a whole lot of different issues. And, and probably quite useful from that perspective, because it’s a bit of a lens on, you know, what no one really wants to be like, I guess, yeah, sure. But yeah, when you families do get split apart by these things, and, and yet money, but it’s also that they hold their business dear to them. decisions that are made about it will influence the future of the individuals within the family. So they’ve all got a stake in that. And when they disagree, it can be and if they disagree in a way that gets on the front page of the paper, it’s not good.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 13:21
We were talking before we came in here about the fact that there’s the whole succession planning thing, obviously, is really, really important. But it’s also we talked about the business being a bit like their baby. So sometimes, when you’re the founder of the business, the first person in the family who actually found the business, you brought up this baby, and trying to let go of that is really, really hard. But we know, it’s really important that we actually build the business up to have independence, just like we do with children. What have you seen it without giving away any names or anything? Have you ever seen that challenge in a business where the owner or the founder has been so wedded to the business that they’ve really struggled to let go?
Iain Blakeley 13:55
Absolutely, I see it often. And you kind of understand that, right? Because founders, their type of a certain type of skills, and experiences have got them to where they are. And those you know, those skills and those ways of working. And those values have been successful for them. So they think they’re important values, you know, hard work and frugality, and weight and sacrifice. Those sorts of things that mean they’re the sorts of values that’s really strongly with founders, and they tend to want to be in control of their own destiny, as well. So it takes a lot to trust others in and so the pitfall really is, you know, not letting go or not not developing that trust in the next generation. Yeah, at the right time and, and losing control of the succession transfer. Yes. Right. So that they don’t Do it in a planned way, then the constant potential consequences that happens in an unplanned way. And they had don’t have control on it. Right, and doesn’t happen, how they would like it to happen. And it could be even sooner than they expected to. So, I mean, that’s, I see a lot of that, and you kind of understand it, because as parents, this had to see your kids as you know.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 15:29
Anything but kids.
Iain Blakeley 15:31
But your kids yeah. And you always want to look out for them and help make decisions for them and, and think they need your help. And often, they don’t need it quite as much as we think. And they’d been brought up with some amazing values of they’d been raised in that house of that founder. And yeah, so. So those are challenges is just getting the kids to a point where you are comfortable with them to step up and move into positions, but also allowing them to do things in a different way. Found
Debra Chantry-Taylor 16:11
One, I think, particularly with ever changing world as well. I mean, for a lot of us, we were brought up in a certain era, and there were certain ways of doing things, but it’s all changed. And so sometimes bringing onboard the younger generation means that they actually will approach it in a slightly different way, they might have ideas that can be really beneficial to the business. Yeah, but it’s hard to let go.
Iain Blakeley 16:31
And, and, of course, you know, the kids are brought up in this house where they might not have seen their parent who’s a founder very much. Yeah, I’ve been working on their other baby, and, and so that’s an issue, right, and the parents actually may not want their children to be the same sort of parents as them, I might want their kids to have more time with their grandchildren, then than they did here. So that’s a different approach to parenting. And it’s a different approach to running your business when you don’t want your kids to maybe work as hard as you dick as the founder, because you want them to have more time with their family. So there’s different things going on. And of course, the founders are often you know, the the kind of immigrants to wealth. They didn’t, they may not have had it when they were born themselves that have created the wealth themselves. So they’ve come to it and they’ve learned they’ve had to adapt and learn what, how to live in the in the world of wealth. And it is like going to another a new country and experiencing a new culture. It’s a different way of living. But the kids aren’t immigrants to welfare born been born into it. So they got a different view of me on my own kids used to think may just came from.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 17:53
Yeah, or credit card, just use the credit card debt.
Iain Blakeley 17:57
So I, you know, that’s another another wheat challenge I have to deal with, because I’ve got different different outlooks on, on money and life.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 18:06
Yeah, and then of course, we get to third generation, and it’s a completely different story altogether, isn’t it? And
Iain Blakeley 18:10
Yeah, and they’re not even brought up, the third generation aren’t necessarily brought up in the same household as the founder, right. So they’re not going to the ones they’re not transferring those values, and so on. And there’s been another person come on to influence some who will be there. The other spouse is non-family, non found his family member. So that’s growing the family kind of intellectual capital and social capital, but it’s also changing its dynamic from a cultural point of view. So those cousins will have even more different outlooks on life. So when you when you’re a founder, and you’ve got a few children, and you’re contemplating them becoming involved in the business, you kind of have to get your sibling, those siblings to work together as a team somewhere. And I don’t know about you, but I see a lot of families where the siblings are pretty competitive. Yes, they used to working together collaboratively, they used to competing with one another. That’s right. So that’s that, in itself was a challenge, but at least they were brought up in the same household and they know each other deeply well.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 19:21
And so I do find, you can often go a lot deeper, a lot quicker, because you’ve got that trust, but at the same time, there’s also quite often a lot of history in the family that actually affects the way they think about each other. So we’ve all got our issues from our past, let you know from growing up in our childhood, and when you’ve grown up in a family, there’s always that that your brother was this way in the family which might be completely unrelated to the business but there’s that soul stirring in the background, some resentment or some feeling that mum and dad weren’t favored one more than the other which which happens not deliberately, but parents you know, want to look after their children. I think they’re doing it equally and it doesn’t always equal.
Iain Blakeley 19:58
You know, someone got a better bike. Yeah. I then for Christmas or
Debra Chantry-Taylor 20:01
My brother got a stereo at a younger age than I did. Because he was a boy and he appreciated music more. I’ll never forget that, you know, even as an adult, I kind of go, yeah, go let it go, bro saying is you imagine if I can remember that, that that that dynamic can come into a business as well. Yeah.
Iain Blakeley 20:21
And of course, you know, the first child probably came along at a time when the parents were just starting out. Yeah. Right. And they probably didn’t, at that point didn’t have a lot of wealth. And we’re still doing it tough and still putting all their spare money into the business and working every hour they hadn’t. Yep. And then the last child might come along. At a time when businesses private school, they were more often could have holidays together. And yeah, so that first child thinks the younger ones been spoiled. And doesn’t know as much about hard work and things like that. So there’s a whole lot of dynamics that go on. Getting those siblings to work together as a team is is fascinating.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 21:04
But it’s also important that they’re put into the right roles as well, right? Because you shouldn’t actually get a role on a business by birth. Right? It should be that you’re looking at what the business actually wants and needs and find the right people to to fill those positions.
Iain Blakeley 21:17
Yeah, it’s a really interesting one. You know, fundamentally, that’s right, yeah, that someone should fill a position on the business because they have the right skills and experience and a family business. weighing up whether someone’s a family member or not. I mean, in my mind, I’ve always thought of that as being relevant to the final decision, because but it’s not going to, it’s not going to make someone who’s not qualified for the role, get the role. But it’s irrelevant. If you’ve got two candidates who are otherwise equal ones, then it makes more sense. Yeah, preference to the family member, because you won’t, because they’re a family member, as long as they’re on solid footing. And, yeah, and if they’re otherwise, you know, equal, or pretty close, then I think you’d wait a little bit. Sure. In favor of.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 22:08
I guess, I mean, I’ve seen it in lots of businesses, no. Well, and it can be really detrimental. Because if you’ve got somebody who’s sitting in a role, who’s the uncle, the rd the brothers, whatever it might be, who’s not performing well, in that role, that starts to create an animosity, if you like, throughout the organization, how come on come Debra gets away with that, you know, if it was me, I wouldn’t. So I’m gonna be very, very careful that you’re managing them in the same way that you would manage any other employee in the business and that they’re being measured on what they’re doing.
Iain Blakeley 22:34
That’s right, yeah. And I see, you know, I see families who, when they’re grappling with these sorts of things, they will develop an employment policy. And the policy might say, for example, that one family member can never report to another family member. So they should always be reporting to a non family member.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 22:50
I’ve also seen families who insist that like the members go out and actually work for another company, before they come back. For the company, or the Joneses family, then when we went to their, their event, a new market and our hearing about what they actually did to ensure that anybody who wanted to work in the business had the opportunity to, but they were given the right training the right you know, go out and do something else for another business, then come back, I think that’s really important.
Iain Blakeley 23:12
You know, the ideal is that, you know, they leave school, they go off, and they do a course of study in an area that might might be unrelated to the family business, but useful to it. Yep, it might not be related directly to the family business, but it might be a skill that can be used in the wider family, and because they’ll often have other investment activities, and so on. And so they’ll go off and get this skull and then go and work for someone else, work in a different place and have a different manager and learn about the real world and gain some financial independence and a bit of financial identity themselves and, and learn how to pay bills and be responsible and come back and what they do when they come back as they enlarge the knowledge of the family as a whole during that otherwise, you know, if they all stay within the family ecosystem, the family is not really getting any smarter or wiser, or, you know, that just adds to the family intellectual capital when they do that.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 24:10
And of course, in some family businesses, you’ve got people who don’t want to come into the business, you say you’ve got, you know, maybe even multi generational family businesses where suddenly the people who are in the business in the family now do not need private business that creates its own challenges, doesn’t it?
Iain Blakeley 24:23
Yes, it does. Yeah, yeah. And you know, New Zealand’s had to deal with it and the farming sector. For a long time, and II we have dealt with some of these issues as well, of course, yeah, because they have a multi generational view of life. And I’ve dealt with a lot of these issues. So you’ll have, you know, family members who are part of the owner group, who, you know, in a way of beneficial owners, but they’re not involved in the business. They want to be working in the business. But nevertheless, they’ve got to say, right, you need other family members who They aren’t even part of the owner group, they might be spouses. But they’re still part of the family because they’re the parents of the next generation, yes. But they’re not necessarily in the owner group. So they’ve got a different viewpoint, I might want to be involved, I might not want to be involved in, nothing to do with it. But they are part of the family. So that family needs to find a way to include all these people. And one of the great things about, you know, when you’ve got a family business that is growing, and is taking this intergenerational view, and as developing more wealth for in each generation, as that means that the family can continue to support a growing family. And that can support that growing family in lots of different ways, not just working in the business yet, jobs in the business or jobs and some have family offices, some, you know, some will have family members who look after organizing family events or, or the family’s other investment activities, their properties, whatever it is. Or they might just have family members who work in a charitable foundation, do work in the community on behalf of the family, as a way of, you know, doing good with them their wealth, and giving back. Or, you know, just family members who are good at looking after the next generation. And the other thing is, you know, when they’ve got this well, they can support family members who want to pursue vocations or careers that might not necessarily.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 24:27
That family, like, like agricultural, you’re saying, as a great example, is that you know, you can actually have, you can have farm owners who are particular family, farmers are particularly wealthy, but their sons and daughters or cousins don’t want to actually work in the farming business. So you can actually create that as a business that supports them through shareholder dividends and things as opposed to actually working in the business.
Iain Blakeley 27:01
You can. Yeah, and I think another good example, as you know, I’ve seen seen a family business where they’ve had someone who’s wanted to pursue a musical career. Oh, yeah. Right. It’s not instantly rewarding.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 27:14
My husband is a musician. So
Iain Blakeley 27:17
I get the opportunity to pursue their passion because the family has privileged. And it can provide these opportunities for their family members. Yeah.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 27:24
But it all comes back to you’ve got to have all those discussions, and you’ve got to have all those conversations to work out what each person actually wants out of it, what the family as a whole wants out of it, what the the bigger family trust wants out of it, to get really clear on how to support all those different members of the family, don’t you?
Iain Blakeley 27:40
Yeah, well, you’ve got to, you’ve got a business, you have to look after. Yep. And you’ve got to grow that. And that’s got to be focused on all the things that businesses and so you’ve got to look after that. And you’ve got to, you’ve got to look after your family members, and the family itself and grow a family that is cohesive. And assuming that’s what you want to do. You don’t you want to a united family, okay, he’s a family that’s having fun together, as best as she has values. And it’s doing good in the community,
Debra Chantry-Taylor 28:15
And can still get together around the, you know, for the family events without being at each other’s throats. I mean, that’s a really important part of it. Yeah.
Iain Blakeley 28:22
So you, I mean, you want all those things, and if you make the decision that you want this business to last for generations, you know, be 100 year family owned business, then, you know, what we know is that 60%, or more of the failures occur, because you don’t get the communication and trust, right. So that’s soft thing. It’s a soft skill, but it’s fundamentally, that’s what you got to work on first. So if you’re a founder, you need to find a way to start the conversations. And it’s never really too early to start involving the kids and discussions about, you know, money and financial literacy and what mom and dad do and what the business does and what it does in the community and to introduce them to some family members. And, and some, you know, some people in the business. Sometimes, you know, the kids might have holiday jobs, they are that kind of thing. It’s never really too early to get them involved, have the kids show interest. But communication is the key.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 29:23
Well, if you think it’s the same with every relationship, right, and even even a one on one relationship, communication, trust absolutely paramount to getting that relationship working. Well. Do you share the same values? Are you heading the same direction? Where are you going? And really what we’ve got as a family is just a multitude of those different relationships. They all have to be on the same page. They all have to know. You know, what sucks sending each other what the issues are, how they’re working through how they resolve them.
Iain Blakeley 29:47
So it doesn’t come by accident. Right? It just doesn’t come naturally. It’s everyone’s busy. Yeah. And the founders and the business owners, they’re just unmatched on the business. Yeah. So it’s something you You have to work on. And you have to set aside time for Yep. So you have to do that. And you have to do, you’ve got to do all the housekeeping stuff you got to, you got to have the right legal documents you have, you know, wills and trusts and all that stuff.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 30:12
So your original background is a lawyer.
Iain Blakeley 30:15
That’s things fail if you don’t get that right. But mostly people get them, right. So I go to the lawyers and they get it sorted out.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 30:21
But you have to think about the wider family too, though, don’t you because if you think about it, when you when you’ve got people marrying into the family business, or marrying into the family, which has a family business, you’ve got to ensure that you’re actually protecting all parts, all parties in that relationship as well. So it is important to get the right advice and make sure you’re doing the right things. Anyone want.
Iain Blakeley 30:39
You know, every everyone’s got a kind of slightly different approach to that. But you know, what I see is, most families, you know, they want, they don’t want the business to be broken up. They don’t want their wealth to be broken up. So they want to keep it within their lineage. So the bloodline, adopted children, whatever. They don’t want it to be split up because the relationships break up. Yes, right. But they do want to keep supporting the next generation of children. So you’ve got to find a way to do that. It’s perfectly possible to do it. But it comes back to get the legals, right and make sure you’ve, you’ve got that trust and communication, as much as you know, work on having a great family as well as a great business. And having a great family includes having in laws, who are happy and engaged and communicated with, who know where they, you know, what their rights are, what the roles are, for them within that family, how they can help how they can develop their own, you know, develop themselves personally, and how they can support their children and what, you know what life means for them if the relationship doesn’t last, Yep, let’s face it, they don’t all last. So what does that mean? And so as long as those conversations have been had, and there’s no surprises, you got a better chance of success?
Debra Chantry-Taylor 32:00
Absolutely. Now, I always ask my guests to share some real practical tips for people. So I want to ask you on the spot, your three top tips for family business owners or members of family businesses, what would they be?
Iain Blakeley 32:13
So in the, in the context of the discussion we’ve been having around intergenerational succession, I would say, first of all, just start now, if you haven’t already, yeah, never too early. And if your kids are really young, then just start by talking to them about money, because they don’t learn about that stuff at school. And there are people out there and organizations who can help to start by by talking to them about some of these things and, and role modeling the right behaviors around, you know, work, work ethic, and setting goals and being diligent and having fun and respect for other people. And you know, all that sorts of things you’d want. So start right away. Yep. And another tip would be do the housekeeping. So deal with these, the kids are older. And so there’s some of those kind of grumblings beneath the surface, sense of inequality or anything that might be festering away, get, bring it to the surface, deal with it. And move on.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 33:20
Don’t really hold up a business back home, I’ve seen that myself.
Iain Blakeley 33:22
Yeah, yeah. So do all that housekeeping. So do your documents on them, deal with all that all that stuff. And I guess Thirdly is just keep working on the trust and communication around the family keep, keep finding ways to get together, be conscious of what hats you’re wearing. So when you are together. And when you’re having a family barbecue. You’re Not You don’t talk about the business at the, at the Christmas barbecue or whatever. You’re just all mum, dad, brother, sister, that sort of thing.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 33:54
And if you think about the three circles of family business, the ownership is like, you’re more likely to have a leader for each of those and a set of rules for each of those. And instead of, you know, a vision for each of those. So we’re really clear where those boundaries are. And they don’t actually get intermingles the others
Iain Blakeley 34:08
Good ideas. So the owner group and the family group and the business group. You want all those things aligned on the same page. So you need that overall holistic view. But you do need some champions within each group.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 34:20
And that set those boundaries that say, Hey, come on, guys. We’re at a barbecue not a good time for talking about business right now.
Iain Blakeley 34:25
Yeah. And you know, when you’re sitting around a table as trustees, having a trust meeting? Yes, you’re not. You’re not father and daughter or mother and son. relationship. You’re co trustees. So you’re wearing different hats, and you’ve got to think of each other as equals. Yeah. And so how do you need to be able to create an environment where those discussions can take place and people feel safe and comfortable expressing their opinions, even if they’re much younger?
Debra Chantry-Taylor 34:59
Yeah, that’s it. Important. Yeah. Okay. So I mean, I think and then sometimes these things can be hard to obviously there are advisors out there that actually help you in all different areas, business advice, the wealth management, the tax advice. And then I think the peer group thing, I mean, that’s something I’m a real proponent of, I think that actually spending time with peers is probably where you get your best learnings. Because they’ve been on that same journey, they probably had all the same issues that you’re going through, and they can share how they have dealt with them. It’s not from an academic point of view, but from a genuine, when I did, or when we had this happen, this is how we dealt with. And I think that gives you a huge understanding, and it doesn’t feel like somebody’s telling you what you should do, but they’re actually being able to share with you the knowledge they’ve gained from what’s happened to them.
Iain Blakeley 35:39
Yes, that’s right. I, well, it’s how I learned. Yeah, and, and I, that’s how my clients tell me that they, they learned so you’re right, you get the piece. It’s amazing what happens. We are conferences, we put a couple of families on the stage. And we just ask them some questions. And then the questions come from the floor. And it’s pretty powerful. What happens when we add another networking event recently, I was at and there was a older kind of business founder, family business founder, talking to a young young guy who was starting out in his own business. And they didn’t know each other before that event. And they just happen to be in a group. And they were chatting away. And the younger guy was just thirsty for knowledge and kept asking questions. And the older fellow who’s stepping back and not as involved in this business, but just loves passing on his knowledge and coaching and guiding, he was just leading this young guy know what he knows and sharing his thoughts. And they ended up establishing and as a result of that a regular mentor mentee relationship with catch up. Yeah, right, if any older guy just offered his time. And I’ve noticed that, and a lot of a lot of people who have had success are more than happy to share their time with others and give the autonomy to others. Because, you know, they want others to be successful as well. Absolutely. Yeah.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 37:13
So on that note, if they wanted to get in contact with you, and they interested in joining the family business association in New Zealand, how do they do that?
Iain Blakeley 37:20
The best thing is to go to our website. So family business nz.org. Okay, when we visited nc.oh Yes,
Debra Chantry-Taylor 37:28
Got it. Yeah.
Iain Blakeley 37:31
Go there. And check this out.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 37:32
Yep. And so you’ve got a whole raft of different things that you’ve got, you’ve got formal education, you’ve got the networking, get togethers, you’ve got the storytelling, you’ve got the, you’ve got a whole range of things that can actually help and the best thing you can do is get along to an event and and meet some other people, right?
Iain Blakeley 37:44
Yeah, look, if they give me a call, you know, my numbers on their website, they can they can find my LinkedIn page, they can send me a message and get in touch with me. We’ll make sure that they can come along to an event, see what we like to know what we do, and meet other family businesses. And we’ll go from there.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 38:06
And it’s a not for profit, too, right. So we’re essentially all about helping people. Businesses. Yep, yep. Yeah, that’s the other thing I would say is, you know, obviously, we share the same passion, right? I’m very passionate about family businesses and helping them if there’s anybody who’s listening into this podcast, and they’d like to share their story and share some of the highs and the lows, because we all know, it’s not always highs and some highs and lows that go on there. I’d be really happy to have them come on and talk to me as well. So if you come across anybody who wants to share their story, I’d love to have them come on the show. Yeah, which do that? That would be great. Well, look, thank you so much for giving me your time. I had a great chat before the podcast and again in the podcast. And so if anybody wants to get in contact with you, families, family business, New Zealand on Wednesday, dot all Yep. Or look you up and they can give you a call directly. Yeah. Thank you very much. Yeah.
Iain Blakeley 38:52
Thank you, Debra. Thanks.
Professional EOS Implementer | Entrepreneurial Leadership & Business Coach | Business Owner
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