When I put the call out for SMEs or start ups who have had family help at the beginning, I thought I'd be inundated with emails. So many companies I interview talk about the invaluable family help they have had along the way, whether it is siblings accompanying them to a trade show or Mum or Dad doing the company accounts for the first year or so.

Here are some who took the opportunity to say thanks.

Megan Sanders, founder of Pineapple Heads shampoo and skincare for kids, has taken her siblings along to the hard grind of trade shows and they have helped with production too. She couldn't have done it without them, she says. Sanders does stress she would happily do the same for them and her skills in advertising would probably be very handy should they ever launch a business.

PitchMetrics' Justin Wright, has a remarkably talented family with a variety of extremely useful skills so he would be a fool not to ask for help in this, his first year of business. If he had to pay his family market rate, he wouldn't be able to operate - on the open market they would cost a fortune, he says. And he is not looking forward to "firing" his mother when his business can stand on its own two feet. Thanks to The Icehouse for the introduction to Wright.


Ashleigh Whittaker admits to taking over the family rumpus room with her food allergy- friendly Gem Escape Meals paraphernalia - the 23 year old doesn't want her flatmates to feel she is taking over their shared space, but with family it's not so much an issue!

Meanwhile Entrepreneurs' Organisation communication chair, Tony Falkenstein looks at the dangers of borrowing money from family for your start-up or of lending money to a start-up in the family. He cautions taking money from family without a professional arrangement in place including paying interest.

Next week: I am interested in hearing from businesses who have come out of a so-called dying industry and carved out a new niche for themselves, taking a different tack to reach a market which still wants a product. If your business fits this description please make contact..