Family Business Conference 2018

1.  Carman’s say focus on the customer
In 1992, Carolyn Creswell bought a tiny muesli business for $1,000 and in December 2017, Carman’s proudly celebrated its 25th birthday. Carman’s now leads the breakfast category in Australia, against major global brands such as Kellogg’s and Sanitarium. While many in the category are in decline, Carman’s continues to grow domestically and is now stocked in 32 countries. “The customer is the only stakeholder,” is Carolyn’s mantra. She is 100% focused on what the customer wants and needs and makes continuous changes in the business to meet them. As Australia’s number one muesli brand, with continued growth internationally, it’s a mindset that is clearly paying off.

2.  KPMG Enterprise says embrace productivity
KPMG’s Andrew May ran a performance clinic called ‘Match Fit for Life’ where he urged family businesses to take back control of their schedules and remove unnecessary distractions.
“Save half a day each week by controlling useless emails, time‑wasting meetings, incessant use of social media and distractions,” he says. “Tip: turn off your PUSH notifications — now.” The workshop was held at Ooraminna Station Homestead in the Central Desert, a 45 minute drive from Alice Springs. With no phone signal, it was the perfect place to practice what Andrew preached.

3. The Just Group says ‘know your numbers’
With over three decades of experience and the expertise of pioneering an industry, we were incredibly proud to host Craig Kimberly, founder of The Just Group. He spoke openly and transparently about the importance of culture, the need to take risks for success, and the need to know your numbers so you can truly build success. “Know the numbers,” he says. “The KPIs are the drivers of your bottom line. Look at these often and understand the levers to pull  quickly.” From a man who has grown a fashion empire, it’s sound advice to take on board.

4. Akubra says get clear on your target market
In a candid discussion, Stephen Keir, Akubra’s chairman of the board, and Nikki McLeod, director, shared their passion and pride in a family business a business that has become a global phenomenon since its launch in 1874. One of the main takeaways was just how clearly Akubra has defined its core target audience, with a clear focus on the rural segment (particularly in Queensland) and surprisingly, Tibet is a key offshore market. We also learned that each Akubra hat is crafted using 162 steps, many by hand. It’s clear that Akubra has built its business using the same world class attention to detail and quality.

5. Competitive Foods Australia says choose laser focus
Restaurant franchiser Competitive Food’s Australia Jack Cowan took the stage for a Q&A with KPMG, and spoke frankly about being firm on your position in the market, the importance of brand, embracing technology and new ideas, and having an Investor vs Owner/Manager mindset.
“Focus on a mainstream business which generates and provides a stable cash‑flow,” Chris says. “Have a rifle approach, rather than a shotgun approach. This will enable you to invest outside the main business.”

6. Stillwell says embrace NxG
The Stillwell Motor Group shared the thought provoking story of how the family came together to develop a three year internship program for its NxG designed to give them exposure to the business at an operational, management, and board level. They told us; “The NxG intern program is an excellent way for NxG to gain experience in various parts of the business and enables the broader family and business to determine their skills, interest and enthusiasm -i.e.both parties get to ‘try before buying’.” With NextGen integration into the business being of continued interest to our members, it was fantastic to see such a hands-on and practical approach from a business as successful as Stillwell.

7. Jackie Fury says self-awareness is key
Director of From Bedroom to Boardroom®, Jackie Fury spoke about how the gap between being true to yourself and being true to your family is generally the cause of most conflicts and communication breakdowns. “The wider the gap, the stronger the intensity of these breakdowns,” she says. “The core competitive advantage is self‑awareness. The more self‑aware you become, the more likely you can have relationships with others.”

8. Linfox Airports says put family first
David Fox presented on the dynamics and workings of the Fox family and the Linfox Group, sharing how the values of trust and integrity have shaped the business.“In all business undertakings, prioritise the family and the closeness of the family unit,” David says.

9. Dr Bergfeld says know your power level
Dr Marc‑Michael Bergfeld of Courage Partners Group spoke to us about something that’s on every family businesses’ mind succession. He shared some truly insightful views around how to match the family’s powers and preparation with the businesses’ requirements. “A great tool for succession planning is to review the ‘power levels’ of individuals and make sure they’re matched
where possible,” he says.

10. Bullshift says it’s time for straight talk
With great experience in delivering workshops for large corporates and government agencies, Andrew Horabin explained how the principles from his Bullshift Masterclass are equally applicable to family businesses. “Develop more openness, honesty and straight talk at work,” he says. “Don’t compete, collaborate. And remember to place the sub‑text into the text.”

Tickets for The Family Business Conference 2019 will be on sale in a few short weeks. Keep your eyes open!