The Family Business Network together with Langleys Solicitors are to host a regular column in the monthly Lincoln-based Independent magazine.

The column will be focusing on the different challenges faced by family businesses through the experiences of local companies.

In the first feature, Sue Howorth and Dave Clarkson of Langleys talk about the benefits of peer support and other services provided by the network.

“Most private enterprises are family-run businesses – they account for more than 80 per cent of firms in the sector. There are 4.8 million family-run companies in the UK generating a quarter of its Gross Domestic product (GDP) and supporting 12 million jobs.

Family firms turn over £1.4 trillion annually and paid more than £149 billion in taxes in 2016 – more than the NHS budget. A quick flick through this magazine will illustrate how important family businesses are to the local economy, but while they face similar challenges to any other commercial venture, they also have to overcome unique hurdles due to their structure. These can include: informal structure leading to lack of defined strategies and goals; pressure to hire family members; high turnover of non-family employees as they may feel opportunities are restricted; succession problems; lack of an external view of the business and when a family crisis strikes its impact may be disproportionate compared to other organisations.

Getting advice about these and other challenges has not always been straightforward, which is why Langleys solicitors is working with The Family Business Network to extend the latter’s services into the county. The network has already proved a winning formula in Cumbria and Yorkshire where Langleys Business Development Director Dave Clarkson and the Network’s founder, Sue Howorth have set up partnership initiatives.

“Our region is full of incredible family-run enterprises and we’re excited to be starting something new just for them. The Lincolnshire Family Business Network isn’t a general business group; it will be a peer-to-peer learning experience and really deliver specific support and expertise to meet the unique needs of our great family businesses,” explained Dave. “There is a real diverse range of family businesses in Lincolnshire situated across attractive hamlets, villages and market towns. Lincoln itself, as well as being steeped in history is recognised as world leader in engineering and aviation.” The network aims to be a medium through which family businesses can learn from each other, find relevant events and news as well as innovative support when its needed. It will signpost family firms to relevant advice and investment channels, but the Network plans to hold its own events, such as insight days, workshops with a Family Business Conference (October 11 in Kendal) as well as useful peer-to-peer panels and podcasts.

Sue added:“Family businesses play a vital role in the UK economy but there can sometimes be a lack of understanding by the business community about the distinct issues facing family businesses. I wanted to change that and give family businesses their own community and I am delighted to be able to bring this successful proven structure of support to Lincolnshire in partnership with Langleys.”