2 September 2019

Bringing family on board builds growth

Bringing another family member on board helped Worcestershire chartered surveyors Paul Rabbette Ltd to grow and flourish, with a new office in Bristol and a sizeable increase in profits.

A finalist in the Family Business of the Year category of the Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce Business Awards, this niche firm, specialising in helping businesses reduce their property costs and improve efficiency, is going from strength to strength.

The company was established by Paul in 2008, and his wife Carol joined the business as Operations Manager in 2011.  Their son, Kit, decided to move to the business in 2017 and is now an Associate Director. Kit’s wife Lauren also joined the team earlier this year as a senior surveyor.

Serving commercial clients across the country, they offer a range of specialist services including business rates, lease advice, valuations and compulsory purchase. They work with a range of companies across sectors, from household names to small independent businesses.

Kit’s move to the family business provided the opportunity to expand lease advisory services for existing and new clients.

They don’t plan to stop there – Carol confirmed that they want to double their turnover in the next three years and to develop a strategy for succession planning. She said: “We envisage that we will have developed a framework for gradually devolving more management and financial responsibilities to the next generation.”

But Kit and Lauren were not brought on board because they were family – they were recruited because they had developed exactly the skillset needed, as well as having the enthusiasm, energy and commitment that comes with being part of a family business.

Carol said: “We use a HR consultant to look at skills and personalities to help us build a well-rounded team with an awareness of each other’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as the pitfalls of such close working relationships. We have also started a programme of leadership training for Kit to reinforce his management skills.”

She added: “We have always said that the family is more important than the business and that if there are tensions, we need to resolve these swiftly. On one hand we have a very open culture so there are often frank discussions about operational issues, but we try to limit these to working hours. Because we also work with non-family members, it has been crucial to remain highly professional at all times.”

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About the Author
Charlotte Thornton-Smith, Partner, Head of Worcester Office, Health & Social Care Sector
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