A big name in banking visits CCP to tout seminars aimed at helping family-owned businesses.
The boss of one of the nation’s biggest banks helped Community College of Philadelphia kick off its upcoming series of seminars for the owners of family businesses.
Starting with a cheer for his old neighborhood, Daniel Fitzpatrick, the president and CEO of Citizens Bank, talked up the contributions of family-owned businesses during his remarks March 1 at the college’s Northeast Regional Center on Townsend Road.
Northeast Philadelphia, the Father Judge grad told a room full of business owners, is one of Philadelphia’s great secrets. It’s where there is an opportunity to grow, especially for family-owned businesses, which, he said, account for 80 percent of the nation’s businesses.
“Clearly, the economy is improving,” Fitzpatrick said, and family businesses need to plan as far in advance as possible to be able to serve their customers.
One tactic he suggested is that children who are going to grow up into their families’ businesses be encouraged to work elsewhere. The different perspectives they gain will help them bring in new ideas to help their families’ operations grow.
To aid local family businesses, the college’s Center for Small Business Education, Growth and Training is offering some outside insights — free seminars that will run from the end of April through mid-December.
All seminars are sponsored through a grant from Citizens Bank and will be three- to six-hour sessions at the college’s campus at 12901 Townsend Road. Exact times for each seminar will be available soon.
Those who attended the March 1 session with Fitzpatrick participated in discussions of the seminars’ topics after the banker spoke.
The first will be Assessing Your Brand on April 24, which will be followed on June 19 with Succession Planning.
Assessing Your Brand, said CCP’s Chris Hess, “is about who you are as a company.”
Participants at this month’s event, Hess said, discussed their companies’ identities, why they’re in business, what products or services they’re trying to sell, how others perceive their companies and the right tracks for their businesses.
“Succession planning” is the No. 1 difficulty facing family-owned businesses, Hess said in an e-mail to the Northeast Times.
Attorney Eric George said the problem is that many people simply don’t talk about the subject.
“The day-to-day operations of running a family business are daunting enough and often leave little time to plan for the future,” Hess said.
Still, George said, family members should discuss who will take over a business.
Marketing Essentials, scheduled for Aug. 21, will be “a bare-bones, down and dirty seminar,” Hess said. “We plan on covering both traditional marketing and the brave new world of social and Internet marketing. Pitfalls of social media marketing will be covered.”
Technology and Your Business is set for Dec. 11. In many cases, the value of technology doesn’t have to be sold to younger family members, Hess said — it’s the older people who have to be convinced.
To register for the programs, contact Hess, coordinator of CCP’s Center for Small Business Education, Growth and Training, at 215-972-6253 or firstname.lastname@example.org. ••