“Family is a big part of how we operate”: Stagekings celebrates National Family Business Day

Jeremy and Tabatha Fleming, founders of Stagekings. Source: supplied.

Like many family-run businesses around the country, Stagekings is taking part in National Family Business Day today with a celebratory Zoom gathering this afternoon.

National Family Business Day, which is overseen by Family Business Australia (FBA), aims to recognise the value that family-owned and operated businesses bring to Australian communities and the economy.

Husband and wife duo Jeremy and Tabatha Fleming founded the staging and events company Stagekings six years ago in the Sydney suburb of Kurnell, and have since grown the business to employ 28 staff.

Jeremy tells SmartCompany that family plays a big role in how they operate as it allows them to easily integrate professional and personal responsibilities.

“Family is a big part of how we operate. Even when I was setting up Stagekings, my grandfather was a huge help,” he says.

Stagekings won the Adaptation category in SmartCompany’s 2020 Resilience Awards for its successful pivot into its furniture range IsoKing, which caters to the trend towards working from home.

Jeremy says it’s easy for him and his partner to negotiate their responsibilities at work because they look after different areas of the business.

Tabatha looks after HR, accounts and the administrative side of the business, while Jeremy is responsible for operations and business development.

“Our different skills work very well together,” he says.

Stagekings is celebrating National Family Business Day today with an afternoon Zoom event with some members in its 28-strong team.

Asked whether his children plan to join Stagekings, Jeremy says while his children — aged 11, nine and seven — know a lot about the business, they aren’t old enough to work in it yet.

“They may not ask for a job when they are older, but I’m going to force them into it,” Jeremy says jokingly.

FBA created the family business day because the organisation didn’t believe family-run businesses received the recognition they deserved.

Greg Griffith, chief executive of FBA, says family-owned and run businesses make up about 70% of Australian businesses and employ about 50% of the national workforce.

“Without family businesses our economy would suffer greatly,” Griffith tells SmartCompany.

Griffith says family businesses are unique because they are future-focused and strive to build multi-generational enterprises.

“This year we ask everyone to support the family businesses that support our economy. Look out for the ‘A family owned Australian/New Zealand business’ emblem on products, signage and packing,” he says.

According to research by Grant Thorton Australia, family-run businesses are more resilient than non-family businesses and they have performed better during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Findings from the Family Business Survey 2021, released today, show that in uncertain economic conditions resilience is vital.

The research found that family businesses generally carry less debt than other businesses and are more risk averse, having a much longer-term vision for their business.

The study also found almost 9 out of 10 family businesses are forecasting a revenue increase in the next 12 months.

Robert Powell, Grant Thornton’s national head of family office services, said the research shows family ownership structures bring stability to a business along with unique personal values.

“This resilience is also borne out in their staff levels with 84% of transition-ready businesses retaining or increasing their headcount in the 12 months to April 2021,” he said.

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