Rob Robson – Building & Operating the Business of Family [The Business of Family]


1 August 2020

43 mins 36 secs

Season 1

Your Host
Special Guest

About this Episode

I'm delighted to introduce Rob Robson, a founder, serial entrepreneur and great student of multi-generational wealth creation. Rob is the Founder of OneHarvest, Australia’s largest fresh salads business and these days spends up to 7 months of the year sailing the world.

It was Rob who first introduced me to the phrase "The Business of Family" and ignited in me a passion to explore this topic deeply.

The Robson Family approach to structuring their family partnership and stewarding their assets for succeeding generations is some of the best work I've seen in this area. I have no doubt that you'll have many take aways from today's conversation.

Key Takeaways:

  • The growth strategies you can employ to sustain and expand your family business
  • How to apply the two concepts of business of family and family business in your business
  • How to make your business a great place to work and entice the family to want to work there
  • Learning to let go off your dream for the greater good of future generations
  • The importance of putting as much effort in the business of family as the family business

Standout Quotes:

  • “We made it a goal to make our business interesting for our children…our children really became great critics of our business and that was pretty tough on the business.”- Rob Robson [16:46]
  • “Give as much attention to the business of family as you would to the family business.”- Rob Robson [34:57]
  • “Sometimes life isn’t fair but it’s livable and it’s the ability to adapt and change.”- Rob Robson [42:14]

Episode Timeline:
[0:49] Intro
[1:40] He explains how and why he and his wife travel the world sailing 5-7 months a year.
[4:55] He narrates how he and his wife expanded his parent’s grocery business by researching and employing innovations over the years.
[11:01] The two aspects of the business of family and the family business explained.
[14:30] Rob explains how he and his wife made an intentional decision to actively involve their children in their business from a young age.
[16:43] How they made the business an interesting place to work over the last 30 years and how the ownership of the business is distributed across the family.
[19:58] He describes the process of his family counsel partnership and how it works.
[22:47] The four rules of Harvard on the relationship between the family and the family business.
[25:16] The change of generations as time goes by in a family business.
[28:24] Why it is not automatic for a family member to be offered a position in Rob’s business.
[29:04] He explains how they handle the family business’ funding among the family members.
[33:27] How and why they invested in a family business.
[34:55] Lessons you can learn from Rob on how to grow a multigenerational business.
[37:44] He describes his legacy as having put the effort in both the business and the family.
[40:25] Rob shares what he would include in a letter of a life lesson he believes many parents don’t teach their children.

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