It’s a Family Affair

McGowan Girls

3 minute read.

Of all of the social networks out there (and, according to Wikipedia, there are 204 active, non-dating networks), LinkedIn is my channel of choice.

Don’t get me wrong – I want to be as uber-chic as Insta Queen @Inthefrow, but I fell at the first hurdle as I only just found out what ‘In the frow’ actually means. I covet the coolness of KSI, who’s such an influencer that he got to play FIFA 2017 with Eden Hazard! But no, I have to be realistic about my personal brand positioning and accept that LinkedIn is where I need to be and that suits me just fine.

And so, each morning, when I am getting ready to face the day, I scroll through the vast content, updating myself with all of the goings on within the world of business.

It was one such morning that I came across a post about the importance of family businesses to the Scottish economy. The Scottish Family Business Top 100 Report (Sept 2017) lists a few key stats:

• The top 100 companies make profits of over £1bn.
• Family businesses contribute 11% of Scotland’s onshore GDP.
• Family businesses employ over 100,000 people.

And these are just the businesses who are Scottish-registered firms at Companies House. The additional impact by those who are not registered would be significant.

Then I realised, I would be included in this story of Scottish business success too…I run a family business!

I branched out on my own last April, setting myself up to offer my marketing services, throughout the Borders and beyond, from my HQ, a base at Ettrick Riverside in Selkirk.

I quickly realised that running a business is a bit like Christmas, better when you’re not alone. Life can be very serendipitous and, as if it was destined to be, at the same time my mum took early retirement from her job (but wasn’t ready to join the blue rinse brigade just yet) and my favourite daughter, (who has always wanted to follow in my footsteps) decided work experience was worth her energy and effort – both wanted to come on board.

McGowan Marketing is now a team of three generations of strong-minded women, working on a full-time, part-time and holiday-time basis.

And what type of businesses make up the majority of our client base? You guessed it – other family businesses. And it just works. The three of us attended a meeting with a prospective client recently, and they commented on how lovely it was to see us working together. They felt we’d be able to understand their needs as they were a family business too. We have all been delighted, if not surprised, by how positively people respond to our company/family dynamic.

So how do we intend to grow our family? Even though the three of us are very different, we all share in the belief that it is essential for us to look outside the business to gain inspiration and facilitate our on-going development. Queue the McGowan Marketing road trip (perfect opportunity for a snappy Insta story) to listen to some of the country’s best business leaders.

We are listeners of business leaders, but we have an appreciation of the responsibility to mentor the next generation of marketers (and hopefully McGowan Marketing team members) too. We always have at least one intern working with us at any one time. This summer didn’t just bring us sun for once, but we also welcomed Edinburgh University student Becky Purves to our family. The warm glow didn’t just come from the unexpected heat wave, but from finding out that Becky had a page in her notebook titled ‘Emily’s wise words’. Mothering/Mentoring- job done!

Of course, it’s not always harmonic in the workplace; there is still the potential for lines to be blurred. Happy to report that so far the only issue is when my mum tells me to turn my music down in the office. I feel like I’m 13-years old again!

And luckily enough Mamma-Du likes Mary J.
Song for this blog is Family Affair by Mary J Blige.

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