Down to business

Cit­izens Bank CEO Dan Fitzpatrick ini­ti­ates the Fam­ily Owned Busi­ness series pro­gram at Com­munity Col­lege of Phil­adelphia’s North­east cam­pus. MARIA POUCH­NIKOVA / FOR THE TIMES

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 chess@ccp.oedu. ••

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