Need to professionalize family businesses stressed

DUBAI - Family businesses have fast become the major engine of growth, employment and innovation in the world economy. In many countries they contribute more than 90 per cent to the GDP, over 87 per cent to employment and nearly 70 per cent to new inventions and patents, said Dr Junaid Abmad, a leading management consultant and expert trainer.

By M. A. Qudoos

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Published: Mon 3 May 2004, 9:44 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 12:23 PM

He was delivering a lecture on how to "Professionalize Family Businesses" at the conference of S C International at a local hotel attended by a group of professionals from South Asia, the Middle East and Africa (SAMEA region), Australia, Mexico, UK and USA.

At the outset, he stated that his talk is not fully geared to the requirement of Dubai and the AGCC countries, however, it would cover the region generally.

Dr Junaid has been a leading management expert and teacher in Pakistan where he has helped a number of family owned businesses to professionalize their operations and ensure continuity. He has developed relevant tools and techniques to help founders, their families and their businesses to continue to grow and develop.

His talk covered a wide range of topics involved e.g. challenges faced by a family-owned business; managing family relationships; planning financially sound businesses; how to professionalize; key success factors - such as holding family meetings; inducting outside board members, succession planning; and lessons learnt from successful family businesses.

He explained that family businesses are different and peculiar in the sense that neither pure business techniques nor organisational theory address the dynamics completely.

Both the family and the business are social units and as such share many traits. However, they are quite different in many ways. A family tends to be emotional, businesses are objective. Family businesses need to integrate two separate traits.

He highlighted the problems of professional development of family members. He stated that successful family businesses grow fast and for continuity they need to hire and employ better-educated and qualified professionals. The family members need to be professionally qualified to ensure that they are able to contribute positively to the growth and profitability of the business.

He then went on to talk about "balance between personal and corporate finances". Both family members and businesses require finances for growth and security. Proper balance between the two should always be maintained.

While talking about "Succession", he opined that it is far better for the founder to consciously undertake succession planning rather than allow an event and untimely death to force the decision. He suggested various factors that need to be considered in locating a successor and in his training and development. The use of family meetings and board meetings with outside board members can help in this process.

Sajjad Haider & Co, chartered accountants, a member firm of the S C International, plan to conduct seminars for family-owned businesses and to also offer consulting services in this area using the vast experience and resources available to them.

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