“I am not sure if I am an entrepreneur by chance or by design. What I know is I love every minute of it.”
That’s how I started narrating my story of taking over the family business, in my first blog. With whatever I have learnt in my stint till now, I would love to share it with those who are about to step into their father’s shoes to ride the horse called ‘Family Business’.
So, here are the top 10 rules that would help you become a successful successor:
Succession plan: If you were to enter the family business owing to an emergency, you might not have a succession plan in place created by your predecessor to refer to. If there’s one, please stick to it. It has been created by the person who has been taking care of the business for years and thus knows it in and out.
Patience my friend, patience!: Your are a young, vigorous, full of energy individual who is keen to take everything in command. But, a little patience will not just help you take better control of things but also keep you safe from disasters. Go slow and steady in bringing about and implementing your new ideas and changes.
Guidance and advice: Just because your dad’s Director’s cabin now belongs to you does not mean you know it all. When in rough waters, seek their guidance and advice. Trust them and their experience. Their one sentence of advice could solve your many problems.
Assess your skills: You may be good at doing certain things and not so good at others. Analyse your skills to judge what all you are good at and take control of those areas while you seek support in others.
Respect the tradition: As a successor you must understand that your family business has been built by the previous generation/s on the basis of some ethics and culture, respect it. Whatever are the foundation stones of the business in terms of traditions and culture, must be maintained. They are the Bible for you.
Build credibility and dependability: Running a business is a team work. And, a team in which the members rely on each other always succeeds. I agree that you would want to run the things you way, but before you do anything else; you need to build trust and credibility for yourself amongst your employees as well as your clients.
Over-confidence kills: It’s good to be sure about yourself, your ways and your ideas; but don’t be over-confident. Never hesitate to ask questions, seek opinions/suggestions/advice. Always be open to listening.
On-site training: If you are taking over the family business in a well-planned way, take time to work in different departments and get some on-site training. It will help you understand the ins and outs of various processes and thus frame ideas for their betterment.
Sense of association: It’s very important to feel a sense of association with the business you are to be the new master of. Take it up as your own child and nurture it not just with your skills and responsibility, but also with the emotion to take it to the next level.
Keep everything together: The word ‘Family Business’ means ‘Family + Business’. So, you’ll not have to just keep it going like any other business but like you would run a family. Keep everything and everyone together and everything else will fall in place.