Family business owners were treated to real life advice and tips from successful family business owners on how to navigate their unique businesses at the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation’s (BEDC) first-ever family business event – It’s A Family Affair. The event, which took place on Friday, November 2 at Goslings Wine Cellar, was attended by a diverse group of business owners from every sector of the community.
It’s A Family Affair – Family Business Event, which was part of events to mark Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) featured international guest speaker Ted Knowles of Northeastern University D’Amore-McKim School of Business. The event also featured a panel of local business owners including Irvin Hendrickson of Hendy’s Laundromat, Denise Riviere of Bull’s Head Car Wash, Zach Moniz of Lindo’s Group of Companies and Charles Gosling of Goslings Ltd., who shared their insights on topics such as “I will never do that again”, “Things that keep you up at night” and “This is how you do it”.
Mr. Raymond Lambert, Business Development Officer at BEDC, said: “The event was very well attended and a very diverse audience from every sector in Bermuda including retail, construction, water sports, the grocery business and service industries with a range of business types from first generation to fourth generation businesses.”
Along with his work at the Northeastern University D’Amore-McKim School of Business, Mr Knowles had first-hand experience as the second generation of a family business. His family grew the business, Potpourri Group, a specialty catalog retailer located in Boston, MA, from a small kitchen table startup into a $150 million family business enterprise with over 200 employees. The company grew organically through five startups and the merger/acquisition of five other businesses but maintained a small family business corporate culture while professionalizing the business through rapid growth.
After the event, Mr Knowles said, “It was great to have an open idea exchange! The event was comforting, realizing that family businesses aren’t alone with their issues. There’s nothing more powerful than families learning from families solving their unique family business challenges.”
Mr Lambert added: “Ted spoke very candidly about the growth of his family’s business that grew from their basement to a $150 million dollar business with over 200 employees. He spoke to the realities of a family business including strikes, deaths in the family and non-family employee issues – real-life scenarios and the reality of family business. While it’s not all doom and gloom, he made it clear how important it is to make sure that family members are involved for the right reasons and not just for a job. Every employee, whether family or not, has to bring something to the table.”
After Mr Knowles spoke about his own family business experience, he moved into moderating the dynamic panel of local family business owners.
Zach Moniz, of the Lindo’s Group of Companies, told the audience that it was important for family employees not to keep score and worrying about what the next person is doing but about getting the job done.
Denise Riviere, of Bull’s Head Car Wash, explained that for many of her family’s employees her parents have become like a surrogate family to them and that it was a way to keep employees motivated. She added that it’s important to keep doing research in the market no matter how long the business has been around as the dynamics in every industry are rapidly changing.
“Be creative and don’t be afraid to try new things to keep clients coming through the door,” she said.
Charles Gosling, of Goslings Ltd, is a fourth-generation family member of a business that prides itself on all-Bermudian workforce on the island. The business, he said, listened to their clients’ demands and opened the Goslings Wine Cellar in order to better show off their products and stay relevant.
Hendy’s Laundromat was Irvin Hendrickson’s retirement plan after he left the prison service, he told the audience. With help from the BEDC and other entities he was able to make the next step and now has a successful business with a number of family members involved.
Attendees left the event with a sense of feeling supported in their family business endeavor and hoped to hear more.
One attendee said: “Hearing stories of the good and bad experiences was most informative.”
Another added: “It’s always interesting to hear other family business experiences.”
For more information and support for small family businesses, visit www.bedc.bm.
Bermuda Economic Development Corporation (BEDC) is Bermuda’s premier source of free confidential business advice for entrepreneurs. The mission is to serve Bermuda’s local business community with the highest degree of professionalism by providing, authoritative business advice; counsel and loan guarantee support. Bermuda Business Starts Here! For more information visit www.bedc.bm.
During one week in November the world spotlights how young people's ideas can contribute to global economic development. GEW Global, which started in 2008 with the Kauffman Foundation and the UK’s Make your Mark organization, has grown to include Host Committees in over 150 countries. With the help of governments and non-government organizations, Host Countries coordinate events ranging from invention competitions to local entrepreneurship summits designed to stimulate creative solutions, jumpstart innovation and celebrate the entrepreneurial spirit, especially among young people.
Formed in 2008 the Bermuda Host Committee is made up of the BEDC, Youth Entrepreneurship Initiative of Bermuda (registered charity no. 616) and the Department of ICT Policy & Innovation. The Committee acts with the common goal of inspiring the new generation of entrepreneurs and creative thinkers