The Insider Article – Family Values
By Ashley Thacker
It doesn’t have to be a family business, but it helps if it behaves like one. Here’s how to expand your family tree.
This April marks 20 years since I joined the family business—and the journey has taught me a lot. But why should readers of this magazine care? The reason is, all businesses are like families, whether grandparent passed down to parent and parent to child, or not.
You can choose which definition of family you want—a group of one or more parents and their children living together as a unit, or all the descendants of a common ancestor—but they all relate to business somehow. Even one-person companies that operate from a bedroom might have to work with suppliers and customers in a family-like setting. People learn to work and grow together, just as they might do in a household. In my case, my father, Steve, was indeed the owner of the business I joined. I remember those early days well because I was somewhat gung-ho in my approach to business and while my entrepreneurialism and enthusiasm was an asset, it took the support of a family to harness it and allow me to become successful. Alone, I wouldn’t have made it. Along with my mother, Verity, we all have different strengths. Steve is considered, business-minded, and financial thinking—he’s a planner; Verity is a systems and processes wizard.
I could refer to my father as my dad, best friend, mentor, boss, business partner, etc. and all would be right. He is always there to discuss every move and strategically plan it out together. We have worked alongside each other over the last 20 years, during which time we have forged an incredibly strong personal and professional partnership. We’re stronger as a team (family) than