The media often think family-run companies are boring, Rich Products president, Bob Rich, recently told CampdenFB. After all they’ve got a long-term outlook, which means they don’t go in for the story-making wheeling and dealing that is often seen in banks and listed businesses.
But for once, the mainstream media are paying family businesses some attention. On 31 January, the BBC will air the first episode of Alex Polizzi – The Fixer. The series sees Polizzi, the granddaughter of hotelier Lord Forte, who founded the Forte Group, “set out to wage a one-woman campaign to save Britain's family businesses”.
In the first episode, she goes about helping a failing family bridalwear business, where profits are falling and the next-gens are fighting. Sounds like she’s got her work cut out for her from the get-go.
Polizzi, who also starred in The Hotel Inspector, knows exactly what trails and tribulations family businesses can face – her grandfather’s hotel chain was the subject of a hostile takeover bid by Granada. Her uncle later established the Rocco Forte Hotels and her mother works as a hotelier too.
“Polizzi cut her teeth in the Forte family business, which grew to become an empire valued at three billion pounds. She works in businesses today with her mother and her husband,” the BBC said.
The question is, can she prove that her forte is fixing ailing family businesses?