23 February 2016 category: marketing, sales & public relations
Family businesses come in all shapes and sizes. There is no guarantee that a family can create a good business, but when they work well there is something magical about the motivating power of a family dynasty.
In the news this week was Boyd Tunnock, the 83 year old head of Tunnocks, the makers of the famous teacake. Tunnocks was founded by his grandfather in 1890.
Under Boyd Tunnock it has achieved continuing global success, exporting to most regions of the world; a business with more than £50m turnover and £7.5m profit. He has seen everything in the business; it is the only firm he has worked at, starting as an apprentice in 1949 at the age of 16.
Boyd Tunnock knows nothing about the limitations of age. Why should he as his father worked in the business until the age of 86. Like a lot of successful people, he does not consider work to be a chore. To him it is enjoyable, vibrant and a way of life.
He arrives at the factory at 6.30 am and has a meeting with his fellow Directors most days. They waste no time at these meetings as they are 30 minutes long.
Boyd has strong opinions and is not afraid to let them be known. He has swum against the tide of Scottish Nationalism and has been shrewd enough to use the strong views of some hard-line nationalists to gain free publicity.
The best example was when he oversaw the creation of its best advertising campaigns. The “dancing tea cakes” in the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games was a fantastic boost for worldwide sales, but even that was topped by the London Underground poster campaign at the turn of this year, which angered die-hard nationalists who labelled Boyd Tunnock a “traitor” for referring to his product as a “Great British Teacake” rather than referring to it as Scottish.
He was happy with the criticism as it landed him thousands of pounds worth of free publicity, all of which delivered even more sales. At 83, Boyd Tunnnock is still providing lessons that all of us in business would do well to heed.