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Edition 380 – The Greatest Privilege

My wife and I took a road trip recently. Part of it was to catch up with my mother in Tamworth, in North Western New South Wales to check on her progress, post Lung Cancer treatment.

The news has been very positive on that front as the cancer has now, incredibly, gone. It seems the intensity of the chemotherapy and radiotherapy have done their job and she’s been given the all clear. However, and as you can imagine, blasting chemicals into your body has created consequences elsewhere and it appears the merry go round of medical appointments continues unabated.

The other reason for my trip was to catch up with an old friend and colleague in the beautiful country town of Inverell, a couple of hundred kilometres to the north west of Tamworth. In my former practice life, one of the hats I wore was as an auditor and my old friend was a client of my former firm. We’ve long talked about catching up and finally, I set the sat-nav further north and ventured across the Northern Tablelands.

Inverell is a town I’ve always liked visiting. Big wide streets. Grand old buildings. Salt of the earth, country people. The Macintyre River which, on part of it’s journey, forms the border between New South Wales and Queensland. Since I last ventured there, some great coffee places have popped up and so has a craft brewer. I love the entrepreneurial enthusiasm of anyone who is prepared to challenge, head on, the status quo and I can see, from the outside looking in, the early emergence of a foodie destination, in a glorious country setting.

Whilst in town, my friend and his wife afforded us the greatest privilege that anyone can afford you. I’ve long held the belief that to be invited into someone’s home, to share a drink, break bread and enjoy the company of each other is a true honour. The family home is the sanctuary of all of us and yet most people take it for granted to walk into the front door of someone else’s home. I don’t and never will do.

To sit around the dining table, swap tales, relish in a delicious meal and partake of a couple of beverages with a family that is not your own is a great way to get to know people. As we laughed away at the various tales we spoke of, I loved how the conversation flowed. Children from pre-teen to near adult were all taking part in the evening, all engaged, sharing the light banter with their parents and being as comfortable in our presence as we were in theirs.

This is exactly why I love working with family businesses. Be it their home, or their business, you’re being invited into their lives to play a part, no matter how big or small. In my opinion, the invitation is only afforded if there is an element of trust, respect and honour evident, with each of those qualities conveyed mutually.

Next time you venture into a family business, remember that, whether it’s for coffee, a professional service or for a new piece of equipment, you are playing a part in a business sector that contributes the most to the economy and employs more people than any other industry segment. You are helping a family make their way in life, supporting their ambition and making a very positive contribution to society as we know it.


“67% of all businesses are family owned and employ 55% of the Australian workforce.
Source – KPMG – Australian Family Business Survey 2021.”