Are Next Gen Entrepreneurs Really Lucky?
With great power, comes great responsibility
Too much has been said and written about an entrepreneur’s struggle, his/her back- breaking hardship in climbing the ladders of success. A successful entrepreneur’s story is then turned into an inspirational tale for others to follow.
But when the scion of an established company takes over the reins of his company or wants to venture out on his own, his/her challenges play on a different level. His/her entrepreneurial abilities are doubted upon.
These entrepreneurs don’t just have to live up to their surname but also move beyond it to prove their own individuality. At this crucial stage they often start questioning whether their family business actually proved out to be a boon or a bane.
Be it the Birlas or the Ambanis, the kids today have added pressure with the eyes of the nation upon them. In an earlier interview with Entrepreneur India, Ananya Birla, daughter of Kumar Mangalam Birla had even mentioned, “I’m more than my surname.” While she continues to quote her family for the learning they have passed on, she wants to be looked upon beyond the Birla tag.
Meeting the Expectations
With great power, comes great responsibility. This great realization not just dawned on Spiderman. Every second-generation entrepreneur, when he/she walks into his/her family office has to start from scratch, yet there is a certain level of expectation already set for them.
“The expectations are always higher. We also go through rigorous training and are given key responsibilities only when we prove our worth. But it’s very clear from the beginning that we have to know everything. Our mistakes are far more easily noted,” said Alok Sanghi of Sanghi Industries. Alok along with his brother worked at different organizations abroad before they joined their father’s cement business in Gujarat.
But sometimes, the expectations actually bring out the best in you as it did for Nishank Goyal of Masters India. The third-generation entrepreneur said, “You need to perform well and that will keep you going.”
A Detour from the Family Route
Many next-gen entrepreneurs decide to move away from the primary business of the family and start an off-shoot business on their own. While doing so they take a cushioned risk as the family’s reputation is at stake. For Goyal, whose family is into manufacturing in the aluminium industry, starting a tech company that is into GST solutions was a different ball game altogether, taking a gamble.
“My family was very supportive and that allowed me to take quick decisions. Also, because their guidance is available, it helped me avoid making the initial mistakes an entrepreneur does,” he said.
Using the family’s established connects is also another advantage that could go horribly wrong. “It can be an obstacle if people start questioning your abilities.” added Goyal.
Acceptance of Your Own
For Alok Sanghi, when he entered the family business, he had to leave his surname at the door and make a name for himself in the company along with other employees.
However, when it comes to being a woman who’s ready to take charge, it’s a different story. Mourya Boda, Chairman and Managing Director of Brilliant Biopharma remembered her initial struggle. “It took me a lot of time. Being a woman, more questions were raised. Some said she’s too young, but I think my work spoke for me,” she said.
The biggest challenge is winning the acceptance of your employees, in most cases it could even be people who have seen you grow. “There will be a pressure. These are people who might have worked in your company during your growing up years. For them to accept you as the boss becomes a difficult task. But you have to prove yourself and gain respect. They pit you against your father, who is already the best in the business and you have to outperform them to show that you can bring progress,” said Boda.
In the business of news for 5 years now. Making my way across India thanks to my career. A media graduate from Symbiosis, Pune, I have earlier worked with Deccan Chronicle (South India's leading English daily), T-Hub (India's largest incubator) and Anthill Ventures (a speed-scaling platform).
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