I made a presentation to the Scottish Family Business Association this morning. I was asked to speak about Marketing Family Business Brands by an old client and friend who now works for the association. Preparing for the presentation made me think of all the family businesses we’ve worked with over the years. We’ve been fortunate to have worked with some exceptional ones since we started up, many of them are the reason we have enjoyed the success we have. Looking at them all it was hard to try and figure out what they all had in common. Family businesses of course come in all shapes and sizes, some, from the outside at least, you would never realise were family businesses others have it written through them like a stick of seaside rock; and very proud of that they are too. As I worked on the presentation I came to the conclusion that all they really had in common was how much they cared about their business; and to have people like that in any business is hugely beneficial. With that care comes a passion and a determination and this is what all the family businesses I’ve worked with have had in common. Not all family businesses are successful, not all are well run and some aren’t even particularly good at what they do but all do have this strand to their business DNA. Ideally, I think, the business should reflect the family, it’s values, attitudes and actions, many do this instinctively, they take their lead from the founders and it goes on from there. However that passion can come be blinding at times so we all need to try and find a way of stepping outside of the ‘family’ and looking back in at the business. Sometimes, because you care so much, it is hard to be objective about your business and yourself and that can be a problem and not only from a marketing standpoint. But as Hyman Roth famously said in the Godfather 2 when told of the death of Moe Green \”this is the business we’ve chosen\” so we better make the most of it.