5th May, 2016
We’ve all said those words many times, but probably not nearly enough – and probably not in the way we should mean them.
Mums play a massive role in our lives. As kids they nurture and encourage us. They worry over our choices and pick us up when we’re down. They guide and support us.
But many mums do much more than this.
One of the things that I love most about my job is the time I spend with our clients. The small businesses that make up the engine room of the New Zealand and Australian economies are an inspiring group of people. Being a small business owner is no easy feat, and I’m constantly energised by these people – their passion, commitment, ingenuity, versatility, the list goes on.
ABS figures indicate that there are well over 2 million businesses trading in Australia. Currently, just over a third of those business owners are female. Over 80 percent of female business owners are mothers, and just under 50 percent of them have dependent children at home.
As a parent I understand the full range of activities that are involved in raising a happy, healthy family. As a business person I know the all-encompassing pressure to make a business succeed. I take my hat off to those women who manage both.
In other circumstances, men and women work alongside their life partner to run and grow a business. Putting in the massive commitment – as well as the often relentless hours – to achieve business success is often impossible without the support of partners and families.
Mums are a critical ingredient to a family business – an ingredient that, if missing, would lead to system failure.
A business owner’s partner’s attitude towards the business can have a direct impact on whether it can continue. In many cases, wives of business owners, often with dependent children, take on an active role in running the business.
For some businesses they are the main player. The founder, CEO, head of sales, operations and finance.
In other businesses they provide back-of-house support – often in finance and administration. I recall one family business where the couple who owned the business explained: “he is the reason customers come back, and I’m the reason staff come back”. Another business couple described themselves as: “one’s the head, the other is the heart. Without both of us we die.”
I’d like to call out the special contribution that many mums make to the success of Australian and New Zealand businesses.
Regardless of the specifics of the role, today I’d like to say thanks.