Keeping it in the family: Business Owners more likely to seek advice from family than professionals

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Behind every great business lies a great family according to research carried out by law firm Blake Morgan into the key factors of business success.
  • Almost half (46 per cent) of entrepreneurs say family and friends have had the greatest hand in the success of their business – and are most likely to go to them for advice.
  • Only a third of business owners consult professional financial advisors, and just five per cent seek legal guidance.
  • Yet business owners are worried about how to plan for current economic conditions, staying competitive and the potential impact of Brexit.

The survey of UK business owners found that 46 per cent credit family or friends as having had the greatest hand in the success of their business to date – making more of a contribution than banks, mentors or other professional advisors.  

And it is family and friends where the majority (44 per cent) of business owners get their most valued business advice – with this proportion rising to 71 per cent among entrepreneurs aged between 18 and 34.  Only a third of all business owners seek advice from professional financial advisors (such as accountants and lenders), and just five per cent consult professional legal advisors. With a further 16 per cent of respondents not seeking any advice at all, entrepreneurs may not be adequately prepared for current challenges facing UK businesses or planning for the future effectively. 

Younger entrepreneurs are most likely to recognise the importance of financial backing and guidance.  A fifth (20 per cent) of entrepreneurs aged 18-34 view banks or other lenders as pivotal to their business success, compared to just 3 per cent of those aged 55 and over. 

*Respondents could select all that apply 

Helen Bunker, Divisional Director for Private Law at Blake Morgan, said: “Advice and support of family and friends can have a hugely positive impact on businesses great and small, especially when a venture is young and just starting out.  But you need to strike the right balance. Ensuring business interests are nurtured as companies grow and protected for the future can mean looking further afield for advice.  Getting the right advice not only removes a significant source of stress but ultimately allows businesses to fulfil your ambitions.”

*Respondents could select up to two options

While family input may be valuable, there are many broader challenges facing UK business owners today that can impact on commercial success.  Asked about their biggest fears about the future of their business, almost half (46 per cent) of those surveyed are worried about current economic conditions and the potential impact of leaving the EU in March 2019.  Another 27 per cent are concerned with how to stay competitive, while 12 per cent are worried about staying on top of relevant regulatory issues.  Attracting and retaining the right employees, and generating investment were also considerable concerns.    

Helen Bunker continues: “These are uncertain times for UK business owners. Not only do they have to contend with the myriad aspects of running a business – protecting and managing your Intellectual Property, tax, getting to grips with new GDPR rules – but none of us yet know what awaits us after the 29 March 2019. Whether it’s maintaining the right regulatory compliance, being a responsible employer or negotiating current political uncertainty, there are many reasons why business owners may feel apprehensive.  The best way to achieve peace of mind and mitigate risk is to seek the right professional advice.”

For more information, please see Blake Morgan’s Building a Business report, released today.