THE family secrets of some of Bolton’s best-known entrepreneurs have been laid bare.

More than 100 guests were on hand to discover how some of the borough’s leading family-run outfits continue to thrive in 2019.

In a seminar hosted by north west business editor Chris Maguire, and organised by accountants Cowgills, Handelsbanken and KBL Solicitors, everything from succession planning to shareholder agreements was covered.

Textiles outfit Ruia Group, established by brothers Bhim and Jitu, has a turnover of around £80m and employs 420 people.

Elder statesman Vimal, 60, said a key factor was letting individual talents shine through.

“Make sure in a family business that is so large to separate entrepreneurs out so they do their own thing,” he added.

Jonathan Seddon, chief executive of the 122-year-old Seddon Group, who oversees a workforce of 750 and a turnover of nearly £200m, has two non-family board members as non-executive directors and said it was ‘critical’ to get a different view

He said: “You get sucked in and only see the minutiae of what affects you. You don’t have external influence coming in. You need some people to be able to have different conversations with.”

Matt Carr runs third-generation Carr’s Pasties, set up by his grandparents in 1938, with his brothers and is determined to break the ‘rags to rags in three generations’ curse often associated with family firms.

He said: “The first generation builds it, the second grows it and the third chucks it into the wall. We want to avoid that. What we have on our hands is a new business in many ways. You have got to change.”

Brandon Pilling, of Acdoco, formerly Astley Dye & Chemical Co, said: “For any business to survive, it will need to evolve so it remains relevant,” he said.

“This means at times making some very hard decisions and to do this, there needs to be clarity of vision and a genuine acceptance of the truth, no matter how uncomfortable that may be.”

Other speakers at the Bolton Art Gallery gathering included representatives from Greenhalgh’s, Rothwell Plumbing Services and Bank Top Brewery.