How Skillsets of Both first & Second Gen Entrepreneurs are Needed to Build a Successful Enterprise
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Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” Today, with the plethora of opportunities available, younger generations belonging to family run businesses are faced with the dilemma of either joining their family business or to take up a corporate job or start something on their own. There is no right or wrong decision, it is one that is in the best interest of all; family and the business.
Bringing New Skillsets While Imbibing Traditional Values
India has traditionally had a keen focus on family businesses and there have been some successful family businesses that have made a mark such as Tata, Jindal, Adani and other globally renowned conglomerates. Given the importance placed on family businesses, we have also seen the second generation become a part of the business, spearhead, expand and grow. Family businesses have been a part of Indian culture since generations. The first generation members of the family typically are the base setters who with a strong vision and mission establish the business. These leaders pass on the legacy to the second generation business leaders and encourage them to join the business and take it to the next level.
A family business provides a base for young entrepreneurs to start off. The education and values imparted early on in their career sets the stage for their entrepreneurial journey. Experience, hands-on training, building skillsets and understanding every nuances of the business from the grass root level is critical. A family business needs to have sound guidance from experienced leaders. While this can come from first generation entrepreneurs who have the business acumen, knowledge, risk taking abilities and skills, the second generation entrepreneurs bring perseverance, dynamism, new-age thinking, and risk taking abilities into the business. This is a fantastic amalgamation of energy, vibrancy, ideas while the former are more about discipline, values, brand consciousness and more.
Global Exposure Helps in Business Growth & Expansion
Today’s young entrepreneurs are technology and social media savvy compared to previous generations and have literally grown up with technology being an integral part of their daily lives. However, from the perspective of a first generation leader, the right business acumen has been the key for the rise of any family business. While the second generation is technologically savvy and are ready to take on the world with their fresh and innovative ideas, the first generation have been more humanitarian in terms of giving back to society and at the same time not averse to taking risks for the success of their business.
To enable the second generation leaders to bring in new knowledge and innovation, first generation leaders need to encourage these young turks. Second generation leaders have the opportunity to study in foreign universities or have worked / done internships abroad prior to joining the business, which opens their mind to global best practices and work culture. This enables them to understand the global business environment and applications. The global exposure enables them to apply the knowledge and experience they have gained to think out of the box strategies for business expansion. They have the freedom and know how to introduce new policies that are employee friendly, develop new ways of functioning, eliminate stereotypes, employ candidates with diverse skillsets and expand the business to new industry sectors and verticals. Alternatively, many take the entrepreneurship plunge and kick-start their own venture to fulfil their dreams and aspirations.
Either ways, it is important to follow your dreams and passion which will eventually pave the way for a successful business, whether this business is run by your family or yourself is immaterial.