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Past Winners 2017

2018 winners


Are all family business owners control freaks?

Steve Howard the Business Doctor for Lakes and Dales loves supporting family businesses. We caught up with him about why he wanted to sponsor the Professional, Business & People Services category for 2018 and about his family  business background.

Why are you sponsoring these awards?

  • Family businesses were part of my growing up, as my grandparents and generations before them were small shopkeepers and tea merchants. Although my parents broke this chain, family businesses and the importance they play both socially and in the community as well as a local employer have always resonated with me.

Having come from a family business background, what challenges do you recognise?

  • One of the biggest difficulties in all businesses centres on time. A lot of business owners spend so much of their time running the day to day operations of their business, they don’t always have spare time to spend developing either their business or the people in the team. The majority of these issues can be easily remedied, freeing up the owner’s time, organising the staff effectively and growing the business. The problem for business owners is:  ”when do I have the time to work with someone who can help me?” What I hope to do is help them get the horse back in front of the cart so that time working with me to help them in their business is some of the best time they will have spent.

Are all family business owners control freaks then?

  • Sometimes there is also often a reluctance to pass on responsibilities to other members of the team. This is usually put down to there being a skills shortage or lack of interest from staff (mostly perceived more than actual), often it is due to the owner not being confident that his team won’t drop the ball and damage their hard-won reputation. With a family business, this can be even harder, with family members being involved and wanting more responsibility, the owner/s having to balance the family needs with the importance of the business stability and growth. Having been involved in family businesses-both small and large-I have seen for myself how damaging this can be if the wrong decisions are made (or worse still, no decisions!) But I have worked with a large number of businesses where they have got it right; by helping them get the right people with the right skills and attitude in the appropriate roles, engaging with the staff so that all team members know where the business is going (and why), and making the business more manageable and effective by utilising all the skills and loyalty of both staff and family members.

How do you help family business owners?

  • Because of family businesses are both dynamic and – on occasions – complex, there really is no one size fits all plan. That is why I like to get completely involved with all aspects of the business, and the people, to work with them to create plans and actions that works for the Business, whilst retaining their aims and values that every family business possesses.


Thanks for getting behind family businesses Steve!

  • I am really pleased and proud to be able to sponsor an award that recognises those outstanding companies that support family businesses, helping them grow, improve their products or services, and add innovation and impetus to this vibrant business sector.

You can find out more about Steve and how he supports family businesses on his website, or better yet find him on the big #CFBA2018 night!

Our Sponsors

A huge thank you to all our sponsors for the Cumbria Family Business Awards 2019