Think back to the beginning of your family business.
Were you the founder? If so, think about the passion and purpose that first spurred your desire to start your venture. If you’re a successor, do you know what passions drove those who came before you?
Entrepreneurship is not just about operations; it’s also about taking risks – a mentality that every business leader has to maintain for growth to occur. Consider the following four ways to maintain that spirit of entrepreneurship in your family business:
- Don’t stop learning –There is always something more to understand and discover. Find opportunities to study new disciplines and immerse yourself in areas of the business you aren’t as familiar with. Take every opportunity to travel and experience new places and cultures. You never know what will enlighten you or inspire your company’s next great leap.
- Reassess your assets often – Frequent review of your company’s assets – both tangible and intangible – is critical in understanding what your capacity is and how to leverage it to achieve more. Your tangible assets might include property, equipment, and personnel. Intangible assets could include intellectual capital, family member expertise, and core values. Whatever they are, regularly recognize, appreciate, and build on them.
- Keep asking yourself, “What’s next?” – A great idea or vision started your company; perhaps it has maintained for several years. However, most successful multi-generational family businesses evolve in some form or fashion throughout the generations. Asking yourself, “What’s next?” doesn’t discount the business’ original purpose and vision. In fact, asking yourself “What’s next?” preserves those values by looking to the future and exploring how to adapt and grow with changing markets and demands.
- Recognize and encourage the emerging strengths around you – As a family business, you’re bound to work with numerous family members from different generations. One of the most important ways of keeping such a diverse group of family members engaged and invested is to recognize and encourage the unique strengths each individual can contribute. Be open to new ideas and approaches – you never know where those ideas can lead.
You never stop being an entrepreneur, so help yourself be the best entrepreneur you can be by thinking forward and finding ways to learn, discover, appreciate and recognize opportunities that will sustain your family’s business and legacy.