Family Businesses – “To join or not to join?”

Family Businesses – “To join or not to join?”

The new generation is skeptic about joining their family businesses. But should they really be?

Family businesses are complex. One needs to not only run the show properly but also make efforts to keep all relationship ties intact. And if one asks the young family members whether or not they want to join the empire, their answer is usually laced with uncertainty and doubt. Yes! It’s a privilege for many who take it as an interesting challenge to contribute to their home company. Not all the time.

There are family businesses too that are unable to survive because the gen next lost interest or didn’t have enough passion to take charge of it.

The Tata Group that was founded in 1868 has been undoubtedly the ‘global face of Indian Business’. Over 5 lac people are employed with various Tata companies. The Tata group was run successfully by four generations, the last being Ratan Tata, after which its reigns landed in the hands of Cyrus Pallonji Mistry. Surprisingly Cyrus is himself the youngest son of Indian construction magnate, Pallonji Mistry.

The other side of the coin would be, joining a family business is actually a handsome opportunity, a smart move and of course, very much like “goodies on a platter”. In India itself, there are powerful examples of family businesses that are thriving in their respective fields thanks to the impeccable work put in by all the generations.

Confluence of ideas and experience of generations mixed together, expand horizons for the businesses.

The Birla Group founded in 1857, is the third largest Indian company in private sector. Kumar Mangalam Birla, joined the business at the age of 15. The business house was already thriving at that time, dealing in viscose, garments, textiles, aluminum, fertilizers and cement. Now, the business is run by its fourth generation. Ananyashree Birla, at the age of 21, has taken a completely different path towards social entrepreneurship. Interestingly where microfinance has failed in the country, her venture, Svatantra Microfin has been quite successful in giving out small loans to rural households.

Wadia Group was established in 1736, and is the oldest Parsi family business in India. They owned the second company to be listed in the Stock Exchange, Bombay Burmah Trading company; Currently they have 5 listed companies—Bombay Dyeing, Bombay Realty, Britannia Industries, national Peroxide and Go Air. In spite of huge tussles within the family, the Wadias maintained family control on their business empire. The grandson of Muhammad Ali Jinnah and the current chairman of the group is Nulsi Wadia, has fought numerous corporate battles diligently and taken the business to new heights.

Why family businesses should be one of your career choices

There’s no doubt that these aforementioned family businesses are doing extremely well. The full string of generations has dedicatedly worked hard to make their home empire achieve new heights. Let us scroll down to understand why it is actually not as bad as it seems:

You get to carry on a tradition

Of course! One knows and understands the nuances of the business in and out. Frequent visits as a child or internship as a fresh graduate are a great way and inculcate tremendous amounts of maturity. No matter how small one’s involvement maybe, this kind of experience shouldn’t be ignored.

You know the people of the organization

Since family members run the business, it is easier to talk to them and understand their perspective. This ‘unique bond’ can deepen the person’s relationships and roots in the business. Also, one gets to see different ways of doing business within the family.

You are respected as an authority

This is true. The person is seen as an authoritative figure by everyone in the organization and doesn’t need to work his or her way up. He or she can move into a managerial level with a commendable salary package right after Post Graduation. The only challenge arises in performing well in that particular capacity.

You are valued for your fresh ideas

Just because one gets the best of everything from the beginning doesn’t mean there’s no work involved after that. Proving worth, and bringing fresh ideas on board, and ensuring well-supported opinions are a huge challenge. Many a time, employees in the company try and provide extra support to the young gen leaders, which in itself, is a strong motivating factor.

You have a real stake in the organization

Both financially and emotionally, one is engaged with the business, which in turn increases value for a company. One gets a chance to improve the business, bring in a fresh perspective and treat the company like its own. There’s an unmatched loyalty attached to it which can’t be replicated anywhere else.

One has the freedom to pass on the legacy

One can ensure that a company is left for the coming generation—this is something worth respecting. A thriving business always provides a sense of financial security to the younger generation.

Even though a person is born with a silver spoon, it doesn’t necessarily guarantee him or her success in the family business. One needs to prove worth and work hard to improve the business at every stage. It is a challenge, but an interesting one.

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