In Ontario we celebrated Family Day this week, so what better time to launch our new blog Around the Table, because at McOuat Partnership, we live and breathe family. A family of five siblings running a company founded by our father Chuck McOuat, we have employed uncles, aunts, cousins, godparents, nieces and nephews and more. And we have done this in relative harmony for over 40 years. We rarely run back to Mom to tell on our siblings at this point.
How have we managed this? As any business owner knows, your corporate values tell the world what your company stands for and what to expect when doing business with you. And when family is your business, it’s your family values that frame those corporate values every single time. Scottish by heritage, our clan motto was, and still is, Fide et Fiducia: Loyalty and Trust. These two words that served us well centuries ago, continue to serve us today as our family and corporate values and will continue to serve those generations that follow.
All Businesses were once Family Businesses
In all families every person has their role. I’m the family historian. The brother who runs the numbers. I kept stats when we would play road hockey as children and now I keep stats on our business trends. History and putting it into context is very important to me.
For hundreds of generations commerce was simple: children learned a trade from their parents and then passed this trade down to their children. You were a farmer like your father, or a butcher, a baker, a candlestick maker. It is only in the last few centuries that we have seen the growth of multinational corporations.
These companies absolutely form a huge part of all of our lives now. But interestingly, a study from Harvard Business School said that more than 2/3 of all business worldwide are still family operated, accounting for more than 70% of worldwide GDP and employ by far the most people in the world economy. And even some of the best known multinational businesses and brands are family owned and operated - look at Walmart! Amazing to consider that 1/3 of all companies on the S&P 500 Index are family owned!
Percentage of Family Business Contribution to National GDP
*Infographic by Family Firms Institute
Loyalty is a Lifestyle
For our family, we know that if we do a professional job and treat our customers and suppliers with loyalty and trust, they will continue to come back to us. And so many of our clients are family businesses - fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, sisters and brothers…and we have dealt with some of them for three generations. Proof that loyalty is returned!
Who can you trust more than family? Who can you depend on more than family? The motivations of the decision makers in our company are clearly understood because these values have been taught to us since childhood. Conversations around the board room table are short and effective, almost shorthand, because we trust that we are all working towards the same goal, which is to continue the business for the future. We trust our employees. We know that they know this business inside and out, which is why we have several artists and account exec’s on our team who have been with us on-and-off for 30 years.
Experience is Everything
In a family business you have the privileged opportunity to gain practical hands-on experience and learn your business from all perspectives. From a young age I was helping out in the accounting department. The sign shop. The print shop. The marketing department. I wrote copy. Did creative. Worked IT when computers came on the scene. Became an assembly artist. Ran a studio. Now, as President of the company, I look back on all of the attributes I learned in each of these areas to help me do what I do today. Unfortunately, what I didn’t learn, was how to golf better.
We Don't Own Family History, We Preserve It.
When your business is your family - even when you are not working, you are working. You sit at the dinner table and are talking business. Spend free moments with your children and you are teaching them the same values and elements of the same business that your parents taught you. Work becomes something beyond a daily grind, more than a desk job. We become custodians, or caretakers, for the future generations.
And there is nothing more valuable than that.
Welcome to our table.
President & General Manager