Running a Family Business – The Perils and Joys

Recently, Conefrey’s Pharmacy participated in a case study for Think Business. As part of this case study, Tomas Conefrey shared his experience of taking over the family business set up by his late father, Caillin Conefrey back in 1955.

Running a family business can often be challenging and it takes time to adjust to especially when you are working with family members. Tomas noted that when he initially started working in the family business, it was a learning curve:

“You’re thrown in at the deep end is the best way to describe it because it’s a family business, there’s no formal initiation, you just show up one day and start from there…. It was literally a case of going in at the deep end, showing up one day and meeting the challenge head-on.”

Although it can be challenging running a family owned business, it is also extremely worthwhile and rewarding. At the moment, Conefrey’s Pharmacy is currently undergoing a renovation and relaunch. This is a significant milestone for the family business especially as the pharmacy just celebrated their 60th anniversary in the last year.

One of the important things about having a family run business is that you have a strong support system. The level of support provided to family-owned businesses in Ireland has dramatically improved within recent years. The DCU Centre for Family Business which opened in 2013, hopes to lead national and international research within this area. The centre aims to do this by engaging with and educating family businesses around the country by providing free workshops which are open to all business sizes.

For more information about the support resources available to family businesses, see the DCU Centre for Family Business brochure.