Family Business Owners; Men and Women of Steel

18 September 2022

Family Business Owners; Men and Women of Steel


Author: Michael Brennan

“Small business is where men & women of steel preside”- Greg Leslie.

National Family Business Day is all about honouring those super humans who work tirelessly to help keep our local economy strong. They put their fear and ego to the side in the name of trying to create something special. They come in many forms- millennials having a crack, Mum and Dad operators juggling the non-existent work-life balance, Nonna’s who should have long ago hung the apron up but are what they do with every fibre of their being.

I’ve been reflecting on my own family business. My business partner Dennis Offermans started out as my boss (scary as hell!), then business partner; today we are family. After 20-years working side by side, we’ve had the trials and tribulations of any successful marriage.

It is incredible to think that family businesses make up over 70 per cent of Australian businesses and employ around 50 per cent of the national workplace.  Based upon the latest available numbers that equates to 612,877 businesses employing just over 10 million Australians!

I take my hat off to each and every family business. Their role truly can’t be underestimated. There is a passage from a great book on small business that captures it perfectly.  Greg Leslie, in his 2011 book Postcards from the Coalface, nails it.

“Small business is where men & women of steel preside… I say men and women of steel because every single day we put it all on the line.  We put our money, houses and relationships where our mouth is and know no matter what they throw at us we will stand firm, adjust if we need to and prevail another day.  The frustrating aspect for me is that everyone else realises this and exploits it to the hilt.  Governments, suppliers and employees all know we are so committed to our businesses they can turn to us in times of need and we will simply adjust and keep going.”

In North Queensland, family-owned businesses are the backbone of our local community. They rolled up their sleeves during the disruption of COVID and showed up for locals time and again. Many business owners are currently working seven days a week due to staff shortages, yet they remain loyal to locals in continuing to keep the doors open day in, day out.

I hope National Family Business Day helps locals to pause, take stock and repay that loyalty- give back by shopping and buying local wherever possible.

Family-owned businesses make an invaluable contribution to our local economy, community and overall North Queensland culture.

The more we can support these efforts as a community, the more sustainable businesses become.

So, share a social media post and the National Family Business Day hashtag #NFBD22 when supporting North Queensland businesses this Monday 19 September 2022.

I’m going to take stock by shouting Dennis lunch and saying cheers to the years of being family.

Family Business Australia

About the Author:

Michael has worked in the solvency and business improvement field for over two decades.

As a business owner himself, he is passionate about supporting business owners to achieve peace of mind, less stress, greater confidence and more resilient operations.