This article is an extract from Transmission Private's monthly newsletter, The Lede, which tracks the world of reputation management for private clients. You can sign up for the newsletter on our website via the tab at the bottom of this article or by completing the form here.
Good morning, it’s time entrepreneurs made their voices heard. 👋 I was flicking through my edition of The Sunday Times Top Track 250 (out last month), the annual league table of the country’s most successful private businesses. Some of the businesses are astounding. Manufacturers in Manchester. Farmers in Furness. Builders in Bolton. But given their huge economic clout, I was struck by how many companies I didn’t recognise.
Why don’t we know about them? The City, the media and politicians bear some of the blame. But family businesses are not putting their best foot forward either. Understandably, they relish being low-key and self-effacing. But there is a difference between being dignified, subtle and humble—and being invisible. And too many are the latter.
Hang on, but why would a private business come out from the shadows?
- They have a lot to shout about. Firstly, privately owned, entrepreneur-led businesses make a huge contribution to our economy (see In The Headlines). They employ millions, contribute billions to the public coffers, and invest significantly in R&D.
- Increasing scrutiny. Secondly, the last five years have been characterised by increasing scrutiny on shareholders—from the media, politicians and public. That will not change soon.
- Staying below the radar is becoming impossible. But, most importantly, there is increasingly nowhere to hide. In a world of growing online footprints, there is almost certainly going to be something ‘out there’ about families and their businesses. It’s a case of when, and not if, something is published. Families need to get ahead with a positive message.
In sum... it’s time entrepreneur-led businesses got their voices heard.