In many ways, family businesses are the bedrock of the American economy. They account for 64 percent of U.S. gross domestic product and generate 62 percent of the country’s employment. They represent the full spectrum of American companies from small businesses to major corporations. And just like any business over the past year, they have had to remain agile and resilient through many challenges.

The USF Gellert Family Business Center supports family businesses with practical family business resources, hosting events where members can network and gain access to special offers from their partners, and advancing the field of family business research, education, and scholarship. And we were excited to bring their 2021 conference – ‘New Roots, New Routes’ – to life in May 2021. It was a chance to:

  • Educate current and projected business owners, providing them with the resources and tools for managing all facets of a business.
  • Recognize and honor awardees who had been doing great things in the name of family business this past year.
  • Create a place for family businesses to connect and network.

There’s No One Way to Do Business

Family business isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think of starting your own business. But there is much to learn from how family businesses need to operate – particularly in how they communicate with each other and set boundaries between work and life.

The conference helped our attendees – both prospective and current business owners – to think about the different ways to manage a business, alternative ways for employees to manage a business, financing resources, family dynamics and scaling. They walked away with new tools and skills to help take their businesses to the next level.

Why Family Comes First

Throughout the conference, we were able to explore the many unexpected advantages of family business that range from communication to their longevity and legacy. As a business that is passionate about putting our values and passions first, we resonate with the ideas of family business a lot. Even without family members personally involved in our business, our family heritage and values form the basis of what we do.

The USF Gellert event was a celebration of this, showcasing family businesses that have leaned on their close support network and demonstrated resilience to adapt to challenges. It also naturally supported people and families of color, bringing out unique backgrounds, cultures and values into the world through their unique businesses.

Virtual Event Platforms Can Make All the Difference

In the same way that family businesses are all about the support team around you, an event planner is only as good as the virtual platform and team around them. For this conference, in particular, our virtual platform was crucial in delivering an engaging event.

The right choice of virtual platform helped to mimic much of what we’d expect in our in-person events – from the green rooms for the speakers to space for open networking in the chat. Along with a strong production team who were able to navigate the platform, the virtual booths, the speakers and also the live chats, the attendees were not only engaged but also easily able to navigate the full program. The harder the behind-the-scenes team worked, the more seamless the experience was for the attendees.

And most importantly, these learnings they were getting out of the content of the conference – about community, the family teamwork and innovating when you most need it – were accentuated by the positive experience they were having through this virtual event.

Key Takeaways

  1. Family businesses are the bedrock of our economy because they put values and community first. All business owners have a lot to learn from them and their ongoing legacy in our community.
  2. Finding the right virtual platform can help enhance the attendee experience and the learnings they have from the conference.
  3. Supporting that with a strong team that can manage the virtual platform expertly is crucial for both the success of the event and the experiences for both speakers and attendees.

Want to learn more about how your learnings can be enhanced by a well-run event? Get in touch with the team at BB Events to help bring your business to life.