Family Business United (‘FBU’) has recently completed a five week tour of family businesses across England. Sixty family firms were visited as part of the 2022 #FamilyBizRoadTrip that was created 8 years ago as a way to showcase the depth and diversity of the family business sector in the UK.
Paul Andrews, Founder and CEO of FBU drove the sponsored car, provided by multi-generational family business, Sturgess Motor Group who are based in Leicester. As Paul explains, “This is one of my favourite events as we get to be out and about meeting family firms in their place of work, getting behind the scenes of what they do each and every day and it is undoubtedly a trip full of emotion.”
“It is a real honour and a privilege to speak to business owners and see their pride for what they do, their engagement with their teams and to see them doing what they do. I love this trip and the wealth of inspirational stories that come to the fore, and want to thank each and everyone business we visited for welcoming us so warmly into their domain. It was probably even more special too as we have spent two years under restrictions where visits have just not been practical or possible.”
“The Road Trip would not be possible without a car and I want to personally add a sincere note of thanks to Chris Sturgess of Sturgess Motor Group, a business that dates back t0 1897, for providing us with such a fabulous car for the journey. It was a pleasure to drive, and we certainly did a few miles, and looked amazing too.”
The 2022 Road Trip started in Leicester and took in visits across Yorkshire and the East of the UK, the Midlands and Central Belt, North and North West, East Anglia and the South West and 2022 saw a first with our first foray into Wales too.
During the visit we got to hear from owners about their journey, the evolution of the business to become what it is today, to understand some of the ongoing challenges being faced and their plans for the future, not to mention seeing what they do – from manufacturing gritting machines, producing chocolates and repairing motors to selling gardening products, growing plants, making tasty treats and painting pretty much any structure you can think of!
As Paul continues, “This is a great way to showcase the variety of family firms across the country and to see what they do, celebrate the contribution they make to the UK economy and to gauge the pulse of the sector. What is clear to me is the immense pride and passion that family business owners have for what they do, their energy to showcase their business and determination to succeed going forward.”
“Having said that, the world of a family business owner at present is far from easy. Not only are businesses still building back after the pandemic and the ramifications of Brexit and ongoing political and economic uncertainty, the rising costs of doing business are hitting hard, in some sectors more than others, but there are common concerns around fuel prices and rising energy costs, plus the lack of availability of staff which in many cases is hampering growth plans as well.”
“There are lots of challenges but the sector remains positive, focused on the future and investing in technology, new pubs, new equipment and recruiting too. Undoubtedly there are a few more challenging years ahead but the family business sector has dealt with challenges before, and it is preparing itself for what lies ahead. There is also a degree of optimism within the sector too,” concludes Paul.
Over the next couple of months FBU will be publishing various insights and articles from the visit which you can keep up to date with here and if you want to see more of the pictures from the journey, they can be found in our twitter feed here
Thank you to our Road Trip sponsors for 2022 – Vistage UK, Mattioli Woods, Birketts, Western Pension Solutions, Gorvins Solicitors, BanyanGlobal and Sturgess Motor Group.
Planning now begins for the 2023 Road Trip so if you are interested in sponsorship, either of the entire journey or just one of the regional weeks to attend the visits with us, or would just like to add your name to the car for the trip, please do not hesitate to contact us.