From dining room to boardroom | RMIT University


i think there are quite a few
differences between family businesses and those we might differentiate as being non-family oriented. Family businesses tend to be in business for the long haul. Well the business has been going as a bus service for 66 years had another twenty years prior to that, when my father shifted out of the milk truck business which he started in 1924, into buses in 1945. And it was quite small, it was four bus routes, six buses, centred on Dandenong. It was early in 2002, when i was trying to find some updated data on family and private businesses in Australia, and realised that the work that Professor Smyrnios had done in the 1990s
man yes it down in the nineteen nineties hadn’t been updated for quite a long time so we sponsored the survey that came out
in 2003 and then again in 2006 and again in 2010. We identified that approximately seventy five percent of all small to medium enterprises in Australia can be identified as family enterprises or family firms. And from this work, MGI whose clientele are predominantly family
firms thought “hey.. we can actually tap into this research too” I guess what the survey does for us is it give us knowledge of the market place, it tells us what is concerning those businesses what it does is it shows us how
well they’re doing certain things, like corporate governance and succession planning; dispute resolution; retirement planning Well you don’t like fighting with your parents, you know so that’s and your siblings. I think that’s the hard the hard bit. But sometimes you’ve got to have the tough conversations. I think that’s hard in a family business, because you’re trying to put the business first, yourself first the family first. They’re all competing for the same pool of funds in some ways. I guess all of these sorts of things sort of do come up through completing the survey and as I said, they tend to make you focus on the issues a bit, and make sure that you’re still on track. I think what the survey does is underline the fact that what Grendas are doing is what family businesses should do. And highlights how successful family businesses can be
if they pay attention to things like corporate governance and
family constitutions. It is longitudinal research and that is rare in business. It’s the sort of thing that you might
see in the social sciences such as psychology,
anthropology or sociology. But you don’t see it too much in business. Particularly family companies become insular. You don’t get a lot of outside help and other opinions from other
people, and that’s where universities help. You can’t go and look what other people are doing. You can’t necessarily look at what your competitors are doing. So to get access to bright people get to see and travel around and talk to
other people in a some way non-threatening manner to your competitors helps you. Well we’re very happy with our relationship with RMIT. We’re really ecstatic with the quality of the research and how
highly regarded it is both in Australia and internationally. And it’s really like the benchmark in family
business research. So what it does is it allows us to align our brand with really good research and highlight the connection between in MGI and family business,
which is the message we trying to get to the market. So being able to do that with a product of the quality of the research that Professor Smyrnios does and RMIT does has just been really great for us. We feel like we’re in the right spot and there’s no reason why
we should be leaving it.

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