Entrepreneur 2.0: A Better and More Successful Second Generation

Strategic manpower and asset acquisition must be done to expand the company's footprint on an international scale

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It is true that compared to a freshly launched or boot-strapped start-up, second-generation entrepreneurs have a certain degree of advantage. However, that is only the initial benefit of getting a chance to run a brand built by the previous generation instead of creating a brand from scratch. At the end of the day, in a modern business scenario, irrespective of the inheritance, it is the talent, acumen and the knowledge of an entrepreneur that makes a difference, not their inheritance. Inheriting a successful family business is a double-edged sword. 

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The Second Generation

Since a second-generation entrepreneur gets an opportunity to lead a flourishing business, his/her abilities and actions are always under the scanner. Gone are the days of idolizing the next generation by loyalists. In modern business, if the heirs don’t bring strong credentials and entrepreneurial skills to the table, it becomes difficult for them to gain acceptance and command as a leader, even for the family-based businesses. It is important to make value additions and display the ability to handle tough situations. 

In most cases these days, the second-generation entrepreneurs enter the family business at a mid- or senior-management level, and it is only after they hone their skills and demonstrate their abilities ‘hands-on’ that they are handed over the reins of the business. It is no longer a walk-in-the-park to enter the office and occupy the CEO/owner’s chair, even if one is the only legitimate heir to it. Added to it is the challenge of maintaining and expanding the reputation of the brand.

Do Founders Fail?

Contrary to popular perception, it is easier for a start-up founder to fail, but, for someone who receives the business in legacy, failure is not an option. There are lofty standards and high expectations to meet, keep the stakeholders, employees and clients happy. Whatever good work the inheritor does is seen through the lens of ‘easy for him/her’, and on the other hand, every mistake made is seen as a ‘lack of competency’ or ‘unworthiness.’ Once the incumbent takes over the reins and manages through the grind of being scrutinized in various roles, there is the challenge of taking the business to new heights.

Maintaining the Goodwill

While it is critical to maintaining the existing goodwill and market USPs, the second-generation entrepreneur also needs to innovate and establish his core team. This is the team to which he can delegate some of his tasks and keep his control over various management functions. For this purpose, it is essential for the businessman to be a good judge of talent. A team will be needed to assist his vision for the company.

The new business leader will have to precisely know what kind of talent is needed to carry out his plans and he/she will hire resources accordingly. In today’s globally connected business community, it is no longer feasible for a growing business to restrict itself to a regional or a local market. Strategic manpower and asset acquisition must be done to expand the company’s footprint on an international scale. 

There is a constant need to stay updated with the technological developments and the latest trends in one’s respective domain. An entrepreneur has to align his business goals with the prevalent need for sustainability and innovation. It is no longer possible to simply maintain status quo and keep enjoying the riches of inheritance.

Today’s second-generation entrepreneurs must lead their companies through a transformation that keeps the business relevant despite all the disruptive emerging technologies and practices. Hence, if at all there is any extra that the second entrepreneurs have compared to the first generation rookies then it is the ‘extra’ pressure to deliver superior results unfailingly!

Dhruv Trigunayat

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Dhruv Trigunayat (24 years old), CEO Ultrafresh India is driving the relaunch of the ULTRAFRESH branch into retail space for modular kitchens

Dhruv was a House Captain in Bombay Scottish School. A keen debater and theatre enthusiast, he participated in many national and international public speaking forums like Harvard MUN, and participated in many dramatics productions. He was a key member of the school water polo team. He went to Canada for his further education, at McGill University (Montreal), from where he graduated with honours in Economics & Finance. His articleships include working at  CC Chokshi Advisory, BDO India LLP, and EY India; mainly in transaction advisory and financial due diligence.

Not only is he the CEO of Ultrafresh, he is also one of the founders of GRAM India (Grassroots Resource Alliance &Management). They provide low cost and sustainable technologies to cater to the demand for rural sanitation and sewage treatment in rural India. 

Ultrafresh was stablished in New Delhi in 1992 by his father Mr Dinesh Sharma, who is the Executive Director of the Ion Exchange Group. As Mr Sharma’s increasing focus was in the water treatment industry, he was considering selling off the Ultrafresh operation, given how unorganised and informal the kitchen industry was. Dhruv saw the potential growth in the industry as well as the company and came back to India to revive it. At the age of 24 when his generation was busy exploring the start-up world, he chose to change the dynamics of this company. He made sure that if he was going to revive the company he would do it in a new way. He made Ultrafresh one of the few companies in India that owns the entire supply chain, from manufacturing to installation to after sales services. He believes that handling a business is about people. People management for him, at large means about an individual’s interest and needs and how to cater to these requests. 

Dhruv has extensively travelled across India, recruiting his team and studio partners, especially in tier II and tier III towns, where he saw potential for his business to expand because of which Ultrafresh has gone from 3 showrooms at the beginning of 2018 to 80 exclusive showrooms across India. From selling around 15 to 20 retails kitchens a month, it is now selling close to 300 kitchens every month. His 5-year plan for the company is to compete with other national level companies and emerge as leaders of the kitchen industry. He wants Ultrafresh to be associated nationally and cater as an affordable luxury brand. His targets are to have 200 stores by 2020 and be the biggest modular kitchen in India by 2021, and then looking at going international.