December Family Business Column for In Cumbria Magazine

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December Family Business Column for In Cumbria Magazine

Wow what a month for family businesses, I’m almost unsure of where to start!

Firstly a huge congratulations to Maria & Mark Whitehead of Hawkshead Relish for their Lifetime Achievement Award at the recent In-Cumbria Awards. What an inspiration for the whole “embellish with relish” team and family business leaders across the region. Not forgetting the equally wonderful Marrs family for winning the family business category which I had the honour of judging. Trust me, it was a real tough category to judge and both K&S McKenzie Ltd & J Edgar & Son were very worthy contenders. Continuing recognition amongst the family businesses across Cumbria, here’s a big hearty shout out to Playdale, Sally’s Cottages and also The Family Business Network who have all been flying the flag for Cumbria family businesses in recent weeks, as well as one of our network partners Cartmell Shepherd. Congratulations all!

Following two great family business events with PWC and the IOD North West I wanted to share a key learning which I hope will resonate within your own business. Innovation. We talk about it, but for your business it needs to be more than just a word. It should be on your company agenda for leadership meetings. Ask yourself the question – how can we better ourselves? How can we innovate? Communicating this message with your team is vital but so worth it as history continually evidences that the innovative businesses are the ones who last so don’t hold yourselves back.

Christmas is around the corner but it’s not always a time for joy for all. I’m thinking in particular of the homeless across our county and the nation as a whole. It’s fantastic the family business sector are yet again supporting their community and I would like to give a big shout out to Roger Smith of Thomas Graham, who along with me is taking part in the Santa Dash organised by the Network’s good friend Paul Andrews of Family Business United on the 4th December when it comes to Carlisle. Paul Andrews undertakes a mammoth UK trip round many family businesses to collect clothing for the homeless as part of the initiative with the Worshipful Company of Hackney Carriage Drivers’. In recent years at Christmas the ‘cabbies’ have supplied warm clothing to those in need. You can follow their efforts on Twitter via #taxiwarmclothing. Further details will be available on

Family Business event planning is now well underway for 2019 across the region and further details will follow soon and will include details of our inaugural next generation network event in February, as well as some exciting conference news announcements…. so do save the date by putting it in your calendars – Thursday 10th October 2019.

Janett, Sophia and I (the co-founders of the Cumbria Family Business Awards) are in full swing for March 8th 2019. Applications close at midnight 17th January so if you would like to be involved either by nominating a business, entering yourselves or being part of the night as one of our sponsors then now is the time!

As 2018 draws to a close I just want to say a huge Thank You to all the family business community for your support this year. I for one am very excited for what’s ahead for you all and the network. And last but by no means least a hearty family Thank You to our current network partners; Cartmell Shepherd, Enterprise Answers, Seven Investment Management, Wrapped Agency, Jordan McQueen, Langleys Solicitors, PHX Training, Thomas Jardine & Co and Elton Business Support.