A Family Affair - Is a family business a recipe for success?

A Family Affair – Is a Family Business a Recipe for Success?

If you follow us on Twitter and Facebook, you’re sure to have noticed that Cummins Mellor is a family business with a strong family ethos. There isn’t a month that goes by here without us getting together  to raise money or just have fun!

It’s no secret that Richard Mellor started this business in his back bedroom in 1990 and after 25 years hard work we’ve reached a great place, we have our own offices, employ 30 members of staff and we’re still recruiting! A major factor in achieving this was the support Richard received from his wife Michelle in the early days of Cummins Mellor Recruitment.

Last year, Richard and Michelle’s daughter Katie rejoined the business after gaining some experience with us in recruitment she moved to London to work at Michael Page. Katie has returned and now manages the London office of our Chef recruitment division, Chefs Jobs UK.

Their son Jack currently works in Paris but is a familiar face at Cummins Mellor HQ and social events.

Not forgetting Charlie the dog, a regular in the office and a firm favourite with the team, although no sandwich is safe when left unattended if he’s around! He even has his own twitter account with more followers than most of us! (not that we’re jealous at all!) @charliedog1990

Adding to this mix are other members of staff within the business who are also big on family values and their children and partners are regulars at Cummins Mellor annual events including quiz nights and barbeques.

We sat down with Managing Director Richard Mellor, his wife and Operations Director Michelle Mellor and Katie Mellor to try and unearth the secrets to family business success.


What makes being part of the family business a unique experience?

Richard: “I expected nothing from life, after underachieving at school and being told I wasn’t up to much by most people I came across, so to look at what we have built ethically, morally, and in a spirit of trust and friendship makes me feel pleased and very humble. To do that with my wife, who had a very tough upbringing and had even lower expectations than me for most of her childhood, is simply staggering. We work together, raised a family together, play, laugh and fight together but the most important thing is we never give in. The whole is much stronger than the individual parts so we could not have done what we did, and what we will do in the future, without each other.”

Katie: “Working with my family is great, there is a sense of commitment and motivation that you can’t get from working for someone else.”

Michelle: “The pride of working in a business that was started by your family from scratch, having the built in trust as well as flexibility.”


Does having family involved help or hinder?

Katie: “I think it definitely helps, you can be a lot more honest with each other about ideas, problems and plans.”

Michelle: “It can do both, the positives are trust, security and honesty. The negatives are that sometimes you can let your emotions take over.”

Richard: “I think it helps. We discuss business all the time, it is woven into the fabric of our day, but not in a bad way. We view work as a game of chess and we both want to improve and become Grand Masters, the very best we can be.”


What advice would you give to other family businesses?

Richard: “Keep a balance. Work really hard – absolutely flat out when you’re there – but relax just as passionately. Have interests and hobbies separately, give each other space, never criticise, don’t nag, and encourage each other to do whatever you both want to do. Our daughter is in the business now, successfully running our London Office, and our son is eyeing us from Paris where he lives. If he wants to join he can, if not c’est la vie!”

Michelle: “I agree with Richard, but it’s also important to have a business Plan and use it! Leave emotion at the door and know your cash flow. Ensure you have a succession plan and try and bring some external influence for structure, reviews and openness.”

Katie: “Yes definitely try not to take work home with you – although that is pretty difficult! We always end up talking about work!”


What advantages do you think a family run business has over those which are not?

Michelle: “I think what sets family businesses apart from others is the common values strong commitment and loyalty we all share. But more importantly, I think knowing that you’re building for future generations encourages our long term thinking which is essential for future growth and success.”

Katie: “I feel like there is a lot of trust and understanding between us that is difficult to find in other companies.”




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