Jan Post writes:

2016 was a fantastic year for us at the RIFT Group, and the future's never looked brighter. We're a family business at heart, and we've all pulled together as only a family can. We're always looking for ways to expand the things we can do and the people we can help as a company, and 2016's impressive groundwork is giving us the opportunity to do exactly that.

The first big change for 2017 is that my son Bradley Post will be taking over as RIFT's Managing Director. Far from retiring, though, I'll be shifting my focus toward a broader strategic role as Chairman of the company.

Bradley has been with the RIFT Group since 2010, covering a variety of roles during that time including Sales and Marketing Director, and most recently Commerical Director since 2014, helping RIFT to diversify into new markets and services and leading the development of new systems and structures.

Prior to joining me at the RIFT Group, Bradley spent 10 years at Accenture as a Management Consultant where he worked extensively with a variety of Blue Chip organisations on major business and system transformation projects ranging from CRM Implementations, Business Analysis, Project & Programme Delivery Management, and Test Management.

This new chapter is all part of a wider recalibrating of roles within an expanding RIFT. As with any family, members' responsibilities shift as we mature and grow together. As I've spoken about before, this kind of flexibility is why family businesses are so resilient and popular. It's also why they're seen as reliable and trustworthy from the outside. We support and give each other room to grow. In our case, over the last year, it's allowed us to expand into new markets and build our position in existing ones.

As MD, Bradley's job will be to keep that momentum growing, setting up both internal and external targets and knocking them down. Meanwhile, I'll be working on the overall growth, direction and development of the RIFT Group as a whole. Rather than stepping back, it means I'm probably going to be out and about even more than I am already. For starters, I'll be exploring new opportunities and building the range of B2B services offered by RIFT R&D, RIFT Legal Service and RIFT Accounting. Our key strength in all this, as it always has been, is that the RIFT family is founded on a core set of values and a goal we all share. No matter how much we grow and develop, those values remain at the heart of all our work.

Family-owned businesses are an enormous part of the UK's economy - in fact they're the world's most popular business model. People have often asked me why I think the family business model works so well and I wrote in more detail about my thoughts on this last year.

Recent research on Family Businesses from PWC found that:

•   74% of family businesses respondents believe that they are considerably more focused on culture and values,

•   72% believe that they measure success differently – with focus on more than just profits and growth.

•   71% of respondents believe that their decision making process is faster and more streamlined,

•   61% say that they tend to be more entrepreneurial. 

Where difficulties do arise for family owned businesses they are most commonly around issues with intergenerational, and interim CEO succession planning.

The research in this area found that around 55% of family businesses do have a succession plan in place for at least some senior roles, up from 53% in 2014. Of those with a succession plan in place, around 15% are able to replace all senior executives, 18% some senior executives, and 21% a small number of senior executives. Across public, portfolio and PE companies, around 31% have no CEO successors identified, while 20% said their firm had just one successor identified – highlighting that the succession is a difficulty too for companies more broadly.

So I’m delighted that we have been able to chart a successful course to the future so seamlessly and RIFT remains well ahead of the curve on this, as we are proud to be in so many other areas.

The last year has given us a lot to live up to as a company. 2016 saw us hitting the grand slam of earning both a ServiceMark aware from the Institute of Customer Service and a coveted spot in the Kent Megagrowth50 list. We're actually the first tax-sector company to earn a ServiceMark, and 2016 marks the second year running that we've made the Kent Megagrowth50 rankings with a growth of 127%.

That expansion in 2016 included the launch of two new RIFT Group divisions. Our new Video Game Tax Relief division is already helping games developers make the most of their work by tapping into an under-exposed government incentive scheme. In addition to that, the recently launched RIFT Legal Services division is busting myths around employment status checks and keeping businesses compliant with a tricky area of law that's placing them under increasingly intense HMRC scrutiny.

For RIFT, the year ahead is going to be about using our 2016 successes as a launch pad for even greater things. We're growing as a family, and we're helping more people and businesses than ever before. The future's an amazing place to live, and we hope to see you there.