Wealth, success, prosperity…they can only be achieved with accumulated assets.
Assets, or resources, in business come in varying forms – both tangible and intangible. They are essential to building wealth and success, which is why they aren’t cows to be milked dry, but rather are gardens that need to be carefully tended, nurtured, and planted with the prospect of years, decades, even centuries of growth in mind.
Consider these resources as the abounding flora you choose to plant in the garden of your life. What you wish to harvest from it determines what you need to plant. You plant different seeds to reach different goals, and each type of plant needs different kinds of nurturing and comes to fruition at different times. When allowed to wither and die, untended assets can end a multigenerational family business. But when nurtured, they can be the very reason for a generation’s survival into the next cycle of family business.
Identifying Your Tangible vs. Intangible Assets
Before you can nurture and grow your resources, you need to be able to recognize what they are. Tangible goods are often a lot easier to identify: buildings, land, machinery, products, services, cash and even the aforementioned cow.
While these are obvious examples, and ones that are necessary to a successful business, intangible assets just as important to your family business’s success. These could be trust, self-worth, strong communication, etc. Just as with tangible assets, these intangibles can also be passed on from generation to generation.The intangibles, while difficult to quantify, are just as valuable when running and growing a family business. There are countless intangible resources that businesses – especially family businesses – need to succeed. I’ll actually be addressing five key factors critical to family business success – in addition to these examples – in a future post; however, the following represent a handful of assets that have been of particular significance to the survival of a number of family business and families as a whole:
- Self-Worth– having the ability to recognize your worth is an incredible and valuable asset. When first starting out on a new idea, product, or service, you need to believe in its value and the value of what you have to offer before you can convince anyone else. In the context of your family, understanding your own great value and your ability to contribute to the family business is not egotistical—it is invaluable, as is knowing your limits and dismantling them. In understanding your self-worth, you give yourself and your family the strength to best position yourselves in what is often a brutal battlefield of business, and it helps you to unflinchingly hold your ground.
- Diversification – possessing the desire to see beyond your own borders is a tremendous strength and asset. Traveling, seeing the world, and seeking new challenges are some of the most important ways you can evolve as a person and as a business leader, because these actions force you to see the world through the eyes of new and often drastically different views, cultures, and innovations. You must have a global view if you are going to thrive as a global citizen. This is a value and priority that can be passed down from generation to generation; as a result, you’ll have family members open to new ideas, methods, and passions.
- Perception – keeping a balanced and open mind can be a great blessing as you approach new crossroads and challenges within the business. It is your perception that allows you to evolve. You must take a pause and assess, do away with your mental blocks, your prejudices, the no-can-do attitude, and check yourself again and again, looking at what you’re doing. Whenever we’re open to change, willing to perceive ourselves as imperfect and yet capable of becoming more, then we become better not only at running a business but better as human beings. Many of today’s most well-known family businesses have survived by keeping an open mind.
Your assets are critical to your family business’ success. Do you know what they are beyond the tangible ones? Take time to consider the unique, intangible resources that you personally possess and that have been passed down by previous generations. Acknowledge them and their worth – from intellect, negotiating skills, and public speaking, to honesty, passion and persuasion. Do what you can do learn about, cultivate, and nurture the very assets that make your business successful.