Inside the Mind of a 23 Year Old Indian NextGen

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Kanishka Arumugam

Kanishka Arumugam is the perfect example of the kind of NextGen this blog is all about. Young entrepreneurial people with a can do aptitude; an authentic leader that knows what he wants from life and goes for it. In this interview, this young NextGen surprised me with his maturity and wisdom. Kanishka Arumugam shares his family story and hopes for the future. Please, enjoy it!

1. Kanishka Arumugam tell me about you and your family business, Deccan Pumps Group, in India

I am from Coimbatore, an industrial and entrepreneurial city in south India, dubbed as pump city of Asia, known for its world class Pump Manufacturers, Textile Industries, International Educational Institutions, and also an emerging IT hub.

I am fortunate to be a second generation member of the Deccan Pumps Group. I grew up around the business and decided to be an entrepreneur from a very young age and this passion drove me to learn from organizations around the globe. Thanks to my prestigious alma maters of Sheffield, Leeds and Stanford Universities, that groomed me in many ways.

My father P. Arumugam and his uncle K.K. Veluchamy founded Deccan Pumps 32 years ago with a mission to make the life of farmers better by manufacturing superior reliability pumps. Today Deccan is a closely held conservative group with an annual turnover of around Rs 100 core focused on pumps also with its presence on Fluid Handling Distribution, Real Estate and Education. The brand is one among the Top 5 manufacturers of submersible pumps in the country and it remains Asia’s largest producer of vertical open well submersible pumps.

My father is a keen philanthropist. He runs a home for elders, has a desire to turn his ancestry farm into a model agricultural unit, and spends time in upgrading the basic infrastructure of his home village.

He believes not in chasing numbers but in giving back to society in as many ways as possible. Recently, he undertook a not-for-profit initiative and incepted the Info Institute of Engineering, along with his friends, mainly for the first generation learners of the country.

One can have simple living and be content but when it comes to business I believe one should never think twice about making it bigger. And this is what my dad and I often argue about. However such arguments help me evolve and I get to know the perceptions of the previous generation and absorb whatever is suitable in the current scenario.

Last year, after my graduation, I spent time with a few European family owned manufacturers and also had a short stint at Xylem, a non-family owned American company, the world’s largest producer of pumps and systems. Its major competitor was a Danish family owned company.

I was awestruck to learn how a family tradition could bloom into an industry that gives its competitors a tough time.

2. What’s your thoughts on building a Socially Responsible Company?

As mentioned earlier, a few years ago I often wondered why my father started a not- for- profit engineering college, a home for the elderly, rural development programs and similar activities instead of just growing the business. But now I realize that companies which are long lasting have a broader outlook and contribute to society in crucial fields such as education, healthcare, women empowerment and for a lot of other important social causes. The Forbes, Godrej, TATAs, Thermax and Wadias, are all living examples of this in India.

Last month when I was in Germany I visited my friend’s family owned company VIEGA, a fifth generation company which is into pipes and systems. It was interesting to learn how the family and business have involved the small town of Anttendorn in a larger way and how the feeling of goodness has been spread across from the taxi drivers of the company. Also the spirit of entrepreneurship and drive for growth is clearly seen in the fifth generation more than in the previous generations.

It is very essential for all the next generation family members to involve the society and community at large, in which they operate, and also to help the underprivileged and make the world a better place. A company’s purpose is just not to acquire wealth and markets but also to contribute to the society in which they live. This is an important value in creating long lasting organizations.

What do you think about Value system in a family operated company?

Care for the members (employees), humility, simple living with high thinking, involving the society, respect and care for the underprivileged, professional management with family members on board and taking part in participative management are important to the company.

The role of family business leadership can no longer be authoritative; only an all inclusive leadership model with the best value system works in today’s business organization. To put it in a nutshell, the secret behind a successful business is long term thinking, highly ethical practices strong values of family spirit, integrity, value delivery to customers and developing an entrepreneurship attitude in every employee. Keeping the company financially stable and risk-proof, safeguarding and adding value to the business: these must be the goal of a Next Gen member who wishes to grow his company in leaps and bounds.

Kanishka brief me about your opinion on Ownership, Management and Family.

Ownership, Management and Family should be viewed differently among the next generation members.

Your father might have been a great product designer who helped the company grow, but that doesn’t mean the next generation could follow or repeat the same. There is no point in just holding positions, adding value to the business is more important.  Perform else take a back seat.

Family involvement in a company definitely helps it grow at a much faster pace since the outputs are going to benefit their whole generation. More than money, emotions and attachments drive individuals towards better growth.

I believe family owned companies and the next generation should clearly differentiate between ownership, management and families. When these collide it gets complicated outside of the office too. It is simple when said, but I’m sure it is difficult to practice. My father and I might have a disagreement inside the office room, but that should not hinder the father-son relationship. My style of working is different from my dad’s. It doesn’t mean one is right and the other is wrong; we have to find our own strengths and contribute.

Is there any family structure in Deccan Pumps Group? Your group recently announced a Spin off.

Its sad we had to do this, we tried our best but was too late. Also the chief emotional officer my grandfather was no longer there . There was no issues for money or business.

In India sometimes families grow faster than businesses and so we are forced to draw agreements for securing the future of the business and the brand value of what our previous generations have created. We, at the Deccan Pumps Group, are currently working on ownership and brand sharing methods with the next generation members. The ultimate goal is to secure the business, brand value and at the same time allow every member of the family to pursue their interests.

Every next generation family member should be on a stewardship / trustee role. I find myself not as a maverick, but as a star in my own way. Gen-next entrepreneurs are fortunate to be born in privileged families and should be thankful for their education and resources that not many are fortunate to have in a country like India. So we should add value to what the previous generations have created, protect it and pass it on to the next generation.

Brilliant. What’s your future Goals?

I’m just 23 years old and have a long way to go and I am sure my thought process and learning will evolve as I observe, learn and grow. I strongly believe that every next generation member should spend time in at least two companies briefly before joining their family business. It gives one a great learning curve of how business families work across the globe, which elevates the thought processes and enhances entrepreneurial skills.

I’m looking forward to creating a great family owned company with strong values and best practices that I have seen and learnt in the last few years across the globe and act as a trustee to the future generations. One thing I have learnt from the west is that family companies are held by Foundations and work on the model of investing all profits back into the company where the family is allowed only a small percentage of profit. I shall try working out a similar model.

The next ten years is very crucial for the country. I’m sure there can be a lot of globally competitive family owned companies from India across all sectors, if family companies practice the best processes and systems. I hope to put myself to work and add value to what my father has created. I’m sure every next gen member is talented, unique and can contribute in their own way – be it CSR, Marketing or Research.

The internships I went through, systems I worked in, diverse cultures I experienced and talented individuals I met, have left an indelible mark in my life.

I’m currently working on a project setting up a state-of-the-art new plant with the experiences and processes I have seen across the globe. Though not a mega plant, I aim to make it a very efficient one. I found the brand Deccan Pumps strong only in certain segments. So my new Brand extension line would help create a new perception among customers and drive towards growth.

The products are being designed and upgraded to world-class standards with a great emphasis on manufacturing systems and process technology. The new plant is a small test that I’m putting myself to. It will also increase our productivity in one product line up to five times.

My Professors in Stanford and Sheffield have always been good mentors and when I shared this idea they felt that this startup would help me learn quickly all aspects of business and if I perform well I will be ready for a bigger role.

Perform and Preserve, else Perish. Also, if one fails to safeguard the business and grow, it’s a crime. With a strong support of the previous generations and the wide global exposure that we have access to, it’s time we next gens create history!

Kanishka Arumugam

Deccan Pumps Private Limited

Do you want to gain control of your family Business? Buy it!

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Jamie Calvetti, President of James Calvetti Meats in Chicago

After 32 years working in the family business and running it before his father’s passing, Jamie Calvetti found himself as an equal co-owner with two more siblings that were not involved in managing the business. The situation got to a point that he had to buy his own business to gain control. In this interview, Jamie Calvetti, President of James Calvetti Meats, one of the USA’s leading purveyor’s of prime quality meat products, shares how to go about buying your family business and what he learned from his father’s mistakes.

What were the main challenges that you faced working in your family business?

In family business, there is a lot of jockeying back and forth. My father was aggressive, charismatic and well known around the country. He slowly allowed me to manage some pieces of the business.

I had been gainfully working and managing in the business since I started. I learned everything that I could about the business. I bought computer into the business in 1982 for logistic and accounting functions. Email did not exist in 1982. I managed to processing, logistics, personnel, accounts receivable and payables and some purchases. I had my own sales, but of course there was many times that competition was a problem. I did everything an entrepreneur does in a business.  In 1986 I started up business in Japan (the country was too small for my father and myself to compete within). Shortly after that I started up sales in Europe. Between the time 1986 and 1991, I traveled, on business, to Japan and or Europe about 15 times.

In 1991 I was able to manage the large multinational business customers we had because of the change in technology. That was the advent of email.  Major customers starting using email to communicate, which I was very proficient. My father’s style of communication did not work for the new younger buyers/managers.

My father felt that I was taking him away from the business. There was a competition between my father and I and competition between the siblings.

Was there any succession planning?

There was no formal succession planning. My father’s accountants came to him and said he needed to move some of his shares to his children for tax purposes. He wanted to split it equally. The accountants, unbeknownst to him and me, gave me a tenth of 1% more than my other siblings.

Were you the only sibling working in the company?

One sibling was. He was in charge of the newspaper for the first 15 years and then in charge of Internet marketing the last 15 years.

Do you think that equal is not always fair?

It wasn’t. The accountants set it up. When my father passed away there was jockeying for position. At that point, my father was 89 years old, and I was running the business.

My dad was very good at running a business and did not melt the company. Because of that, the company was and is very well financed. We left quite a bit of cash in the business.

I had to buy both my siblings out over three years and both were major negotiations. There were bad feelings involved and it took a very aggressive attorney to take care of things on my side.

In the meantime, we had to run a business. I could see down the line that with all these buyouts I was going to need to start growing the company again. We were in the airline and food service business and we stopped growing after 9-11 and didn’t diversify. I tried to diversify a couple of times and it failed. Ultimately, I went back to my core business. I reduced my salary and reduced expenses where it was necessary to generate the cash for the buyouts.

What were the keys to raise capital to buy your siblings out?

You have to make a profit, have good cash flow, and show and prove that to the bank. Handle your personal finances properly and correctly. Be conservative with the money that you do have. I had my  broker contact the bank and give a referral. I come from a place where my dad wanted to pay everything in cash. We paid cash for a building, and in about 17 years the value of the building doubled and there are no loans against it.

You just have to play it right and you can’t be the guy that has a $1 million dollar house with an $800,000 mortgage. You will not get the financing even though that is your personal stuff they are going to look at it. They are going to see that you are too much of a risk taker or you don’t know how to run your money.

I also look at my cash position every day. I know what my accounts receivable, accounts payable, loan, and my cash positions are. I also know what my estimated payouts are for the following week. In the meat business, you have to pay your bills in seven days because we buy a perishable product. You should also follow the markets. When we made a lot of money, instead of taking it out, I loaned it back to the company. It was advantageous to me because I could pay myself interest more than market rates.

It also showed the way that you ran the company.

Right. I had stable employees. You bring the banks in show them the business-that is not normal. You show everything to them and show them you can make money in various economic conditions.

When your father passed away there was no real succession plan. What would you do differently for your children?

I don’t have any children but I do have a stepdaughter. I would never burden her with this. What I would do different than my father is I would determine who was most interested in the business and most capable. I would move those assets upon or before my passing to that person. Then, I would compensate the others.

How is your relationship with your siblings now?

We have a strained relationship.

Do you think that all this pain could have been avoided with proper planning?

Maybe. Entrepreneurs are a special type of group – they are very competitive at least my father was. He was competitive with his children. I can remember a couple times, that he wouldn’t be so happy  that I would bring in a huge order. It was a strange situation.

What advice would you give next generation members that are considering buying their Family Business?

  • You first have to know how to run the business profitably and conservatively. You should not take a $500,000 salary, take cash out the business, and expect the bank to finance the business.
  • Have to have your own money in the business too.
  • Have a great reputation in your industry, better reputation than everybody else.
  • Pay your bills on time or early. That gives you power to do the things you want to do or at least it helps you.
  • Then you have to run your personal life properly. Don’t have a $1 million house with $800,000 loan.
  • You have to be and work at the job. You can’t be on vacation all the time.
  • You have to have stable employees, be a good manager, and a good communicator.

What about you? Have you ever been in a similar situation? What other resources could have been used to take control of the company? Are banks the most likely founding source for family business buyouts? Please, share your experience, we can all learn from it!

Written by Carmen Lence, Coach and Consultant at NextGen Consulting and Coaching LLC. www.nextgenfamilybusiness.com


Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going? Next Generation Goes to Stetson University to Get Answers

Peter Begalla, Outreach Director of the Family Enterprise Center, Adjunct Professor at the School of Business Administration at Stetson University

Stetson University is the first school in the USA to offer a degree in Family Business. The program focuses on next-generation members of family businesses, and one of its goals is to encourage them to take ownership of their own lives and careers.

Peter Begalla is the Outreach Director of the Family Enterprise Center, Adjunct Professor at the School of Business Administration at Stetson University and an expert in next-generation leadership development. This is what he has to say about the next generation, leadership and making things happen for oneself.

What, in your experience, is the main problem that next generation members of family businesses face?

It tends to be credibility: within the family, within the enterprise, as well as marketability of their skills in either the family enterprise setting or out in the real world. So the idea is that because they have a family business they may not be as they have to be in their own right. They have to be recognized as credible and marketable themselves separate from their family so that their own identity can be established.

The program stresses the need for the next generation to be proactive and create their own future. How does the program support its students to help them to achieve that?

The introductory course kind of sets the tone for the whole program. It’s the one that’s the most intensive. The course is divided up into thirds. The first part of the course is a whole segment devoted to who you are: personality assessment, values assessment, and a discussion about what you know about yourself from a personality dynamic. What you believe about yourself.

The second section of the course is what is your family story. So there’s some gene gram work, some work on the family values, there’s an interview process in which the students ask their family members, their mom and dad, why did they choose the career that they did. What kind of family dynamics. What was important for them in terms of their business or their career choice. How has that affected the family. By doing that, the student works with the family to determine what kinds of messages have been important to the family, for a couple of generations. What their family story is and how it might impact the student.

There’s also some identification in that same time period as to what role they play in the family in terms of birth order and everybody’s influence to birth order.

And then the third component is what do you want to do. Now that you understand a little bit about who you are and what your script is, what do you want to do with this? Is it work within the family business? Is it work outside? How does your plan match up with reality? How does it match up with the reality of the family? How does it match up with you as a person? Are your values in line with what those plans are? Is your personality in line?

One more piece is that all three of those segments are then collected into what we call the Life Plan. It tends to be about 50 pages long. It’s designed for the student to essentially define success as they see it within the family business or outside. It basically changes how they view themselves and what they are going to do and how they are going to go about doing it in the world.

Do you have more students going to work in the family business or outside it after finishing the program?

It’s different for each person. I can’t say that the rule of thumb is that they all go back to their family businesses and I can’t say that they all bail out. It’s a fairly decent mix. However, it tends to lean more towards the student going outside the family business for a period of time. I can’t say we’ve done any research to support what I call “Gut Check.”

What would be your advice to those next generation members living in “golden cages,” meaning, working in the family business with a good job title, good salary but no real responsibility, accountability and lacking preparation to take over the leadership of the company. Living in fear about what is going to happen in the future when their parents are not around anymore.

First is to “know thyself”; know exactly what your skills are. Know what you have to bring to better the situation. That way you know where to start and you shop on your technical skills or on your soft skills. For example, if you’ve got an accounting issue, or if you’ve got a marketing issue or a financial issue, you can always ask for help. Although the responsibility in that situation is ultimately yours, know how much guidance you need in order to make the right decision, know your capacity, know your abilities and your strengths and weaknesses so that you can call for help when you do have to make the decision (because again, you’ve got the title, you’ve got the responsibility) but you have guidance.

The other thing we stress with the program is that getting unbiased feedback is advice that often leads to a profound change in the individual. The feedback is such that it just kind of says “hey this is what I see” kind of holding up a mirror “this is what I see you doing”; it allows the student to make some choices about a different behavior versus “hey, you know what you should do?” which nobody really likes. If somebody who is in a position of responsibility within an organization doesn’t have feedback then they are kind of looking in a vacuum.

What is the profile of your students? What kind of family companies do they come from?

We have a mix of students; some have family businesses and some do not. One of the ways in which we talk about the program is that if you don’t have a family business, you still benefit from it because 90% of businesses in America are family businesses. So you’re probably going to work in one. The other thing we do is stress an advisory track as well towards the end of the program. We train students on some basic advising type of skills working with companies.

So in terms of the students we have that have family businesses, it spans  a pretty wide range. I’ve had students with international holdings that are fairly vast where their families come from two generations deep in South America and in the Caribbean. Everything from real estate to restaurants, mining, aggregates, and land family grocery store holders here in the States. It spans from annual revenue exceeding 1 billion to the little mom and pop jewelry store worth half a million a year or even restaurants.

They have been working for the family company or it’s a bit of both?

They definitely have exposure to it. The ones who don’t have exposure to it the parents are in a business that tends to be more advising. For example like financial services, a dad owns financial services and  he has 2 or 3 guys working with him like an insurance business; the student doesn’t work in it. If it’s the construction business, the student has worked in it. If its manufacturing, the student has worked in it. If it’s a distributor of some sort, the students have worked in it.

Is this a unique program in the U.S. that you are managing?

I believe so, it’s one of two majors in the world, its basically the first major in the world. We think we have something that is very promising. We essentially are having a dialogue about family businesses that no one else is having with students at a time in which they are forming identities and forming a sense of where they want to go in the world. And we promise them, what my college Greg McCann says and why he founded the program the way he did, “Look, you get a discussion with your peers and your family for four years about who you are and where you want to go. If that’s within the family business that’s great, if not that’s great too. But essentially you get to write your own story versus just being pushed along by the family history and by the family’s script of the business.” Especially if it’s a large successful business, it can override the identity of someone who is trying to form and carve himself out a sense of self and where he wants to go.

In your experience, what are the main traits of successful next generation?

They tend to want truth and honesty. They tend to want everything to be exactly as it is and for everybody to know it and what’s going on. So there’s this level of transparency that I think is required personally as well as about the organization, and about the older generation and the next generation. And again, it is to “know thyself.” What your strengths and weakness are and to be ok with that to say, this is what I bring to the table, this is what I don’t bring to the table, and how are we going to make this work.

Any tips or words of advice for next generation members of family businesses?

No matter what you do, start now. Start thinking about who you are, what you are about, what you bring to the table, and how that’s viewed by your family. Also, how it’s viewed by non-family members within the business. Start the dialogue A) with yourself then B) with your family about what you bring to the table and what you want to do next. How you can contribute to the business.

So, next generation, what are you going to do to make things happen for you?

For more information about the Stetson University Family Enterprise Center, please click on: http://www.stetson.edu/business/family

Written by  Carmen Lence, MBA
NextGen Consulting & Coaching

Web: http://www.nextgenfamilybusiness.com
LIKE us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/NextGenConsultingnCoaching

Do you Really Have a Family Business? Spot the Differences!

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Do you really have a family Business?

Noting the differences between “a family business” and “a company run by an entrepreneur with some family members working in it” is a bit like the “Spot the differences game.” At first glance both pictures appear to be identical- a business owned by a family and run by a family member- but a closer inspection reveals that both pictures are actually quite different. Do you want to play?

Imagine that right in front of you there are two similar pictures of a CEO of a mid- sized family business in his sixties and his successor, who looks to be in his mid-thirties. Let’s spot the differences!

Difference 1-

Management approach

CEO A smiles at the camera with the confidence of someone who not only has had an extraordinary life, full of outstanding achievements, but also has been able to put into place the means for those achievements to outlive him. Throughout the years he has assembled a team of strong managers that do not hesitate to challenge his views. He has hired experienced professionals and has coached them to work as a team. They are highly motivated not only by the company’s compensation and promotion policies, but by appreciation and recognition of their achievements. CEO “A” is a firm believer in positive motivation and acknowledges management’s and employees’ contribution to the company’s success.

CEO B smiles at the camera with the confidence of someone who has had an extraordinary life, full of outstanding achievements. Throughout the years he has assembled a team of helpers that obey his orders without hesitation. He has hired inexperienced professionals (he feels that seasoned professionals have their own “ideas”) and has coached them to follow his commands. CEO B is a firm believer in “negative motivation” and reprimands his employees for mistakes while rarely acknowledging their contributions to the company’s success.

Difference 2-

Grooming the Next Generation

Successor A stands up, resting his right hand on his father’s shoulder. Their body language indicates that both men feel comfortable with each other. He shows the self-confidence of someone who is proud of himself and his family’s achievements. He has been involved in the family business since childhood, working on weekends and holidays during his school and university years. After graduating from university, he joined a multinational company and worked for them for several years before entering the family business. He has successfully managed the main business unit in the family company for the last three years.

Successor B stands up, his arms folded in front of him. His body language indicates that he feels uneasy. He shows the uncertainty and self-doubt of someone who does not feel in control of his own life. He also has always been involved in the family company and tried to get outside working experience. His father strongly opposed the idea and convinced him to stay, offering him the job of managing the main business unit. Successor “B” was aware of his father’s inability to delegate authority but decided to take the job and set his mind to getting real responsibility and decision-making power. After years of trying to change his father’s management approach to no avail, he has become another yes man in the organization. His initial frustration has turned into conformism and low self-esteem. He doesn’t challenge his father anymore , is not confident in his ability to find a position at the same level in another company and is afraid that once his father is gone he won’t be prepare  to run the Family Business as he has being train to just follow orders.

Difference 3-

Corporate Governance – The board of Directors

On the desk of CEO A sits an open calendar on which the next board of directors’ meeting is marked in red. The board of directors, including several independent entrepreneurs and professional managers, has been the key to developing a succession plan as well as to assuring the CEO’s accountability.

CEO B, on the other hand, believes that nobody has the right to tell him how to run his business, so he does not have a board of directors. He doesn’t consider planning for succession an urgent matter because he doesn’t plan to retire in the near future.

Difference 4

The family Constitution

On the top shelf of CEO A’s bookcase sits a copy of the “Family Constitution.” This contains the basic rules of how the family relates with the business. For example, it includes a rule that in order to work for the family company, a family member has to have a university degree and five years of experience working elsewhere. The family constitution, developed by the family with the assistance of an external consultant, has helped to avoid conflicts, as everybody knows what the rules are.

CEO B, on the contrary, does not believe that he needs a family constitution. He sets the rules and changes them as he pleases. He is not concerned about what may happen once he is not around anymore, because he likes to believe that he is going to be around forever.

And the final Difference:

Which company do you believe has a better chance of long-term survival?

A family business is not the same as a business run by an entrepreneur with some family members working for it. The case of The Erb Group–a private, multibillion, Swiss

conglomerate run almost exclusively by its octogenarian founder and which collapsed after his death, revealing a lack of accounting controls–should serve as a warning sign for every

entrepreneur. A responsible family business leader should consider if he really has a family business and whether he has developed the means for his business to be successful and

remain in the family in the long run.

So, do you really have a family business? Eliminate the differences!

Written by Carmen Lence of NextGen Consulting & Coaching www.nextgenfamilybusiness.com

 

How to succeed at succession? Use the “BE PROACTIVE” formula!

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Be proactive

I believe that this is at the core of every single achievement in life. You have to be proactive; you have to make things happen. Successors that wait for others to take the lead in the succession planning process, will most likely wait forever!

Educate yourself (about yourself, your business and the world)

I don’t mean only formal education (degree, MBA…), but keep on learning at every opportunity about:

Yourself:

Who do you know you are? What do you really want? Do you have what it takes? Can you develop the skills you are missing? Do you want to? Are you willing to pay the price to succeed? Know yourself and keep improving!

Your Family Business:

What kind or business are you really in? Bus Company or transporting passengers? Have you SWOT it? Where is the industry going? Where is the business going?

The world:

What is going on the in world and how does affect you and your business? How is people behavior changing? Keep an eye on the impact of technology.

Pursue work experience outside the Family Business

Get out of the house and work far away from home where nobody knows you. It is hard to be a nobody… but with time and effort, you will survive and thrive!

Re-Shape family communication

It is time to talk about the elephants in the room. Be assertive, positive and eliminate blaming. The formula, describe situation + state how it makes you feel+ ask for what you want= clear, effective communication! Use it! It works!

Out and about

Go to networking events for Family Business, for Next Generation, for your Industry, from your University… don’t forget to network online and keep in contact.  Learnt from others, find a peer group and a mentor that can inspire and support you. Face it! You cannot make it alone!

Act as a leader

Look for opportunities to hone your leadership skills. If you are not leading a team or a project currently, look for a volunteer organization that can provide you that opportunity. Or even better, create one!

Create your own business

I believe that working outside the Family Company not only gives you credibility but it is great for your self-esteem. If you create your own business, no matter how small, your self-esteem will soar.  It will also help you to understand better the 1st generation. It is an unbeatable learning opportunity and if you are really good at it, it may produce the cash you need to buy your Family Business out!

 Think strategically

What ever you do think about how it fits in your long-term plan of leading the Family Business. Are you gaining skills in your current job that will be useful in the future? Are you creating a company that could be integrated in the Family Business?

If you are already working in your Family Business, get involve in strategic decisions and work with the senior generation to define future strategies that fit with your passions and competencies.

Impersonations do not work!

Don’t try to be a copycat of the senior generation. Have your own voice and your own leadership style.

Be vigilant and active about where you can take the Family business applying your personal passions and skills.

Value proposition

What is your value proposition? What do you bring to the table that nobody else does? Why should you be the Family Business successor? Create your own Family Business succession plan having the above questions into account. Be realistic, not only about yourself and your capabilities, but also about the senior generation and other Family members concerns and resistances.

Consider the possibility to buy your Family Company and educate yourself about ways to finance the operation.

Expect great things to happen

Be positive, celebrate your successes and learnt from your failures. Be patience, believe in yourself and keep going no matter what. Expect great things to happen and they will happen!!!