The caller on the phone said- ‘Where are you? I want to meet you now.’
Posted on: March 26, 2018 By: MG
If you are a second generation entrepreneur or would be becoming one soon then continue reading...
The caller on the phone said- ‘Where are you? I want to meet you now.’ I said what happened. The reply came- ‘No just tell me where are you & I’ll Come’. There was an urgency in the voice, there was the excitement of that of a schoolboy who had stood first in his class & wanted to show his mark sheet. In such cases, I usually make an exception and do all I can to make time. So there he was a late evening at my residence with the broadest smile I had ever seen on his face. He touched my feet, hugged me for a good long time as I waited for him to disclose his reason to be on cloud nine. After he had calmed down he flashed a certificate from the Govt of India for a patent which he had got in his name. All of 24 year’s Kush Rathi was a bundle of joy as he explained the tedious process of filing for a patent and how the last 1 1/2 years he fought with national & international claimants & defended his invention. Felt embarrassed and awesome at the same time when he said that after taking blessings from Dagdusheth Ganpati, I was the first person he wanted to meet and share the news.
When Kush had joined our Business Program a few years ago he was the boss’s son in his factory, he was an intern not only in the eyes of all the team members but that too of his father. It is difficult if not impossible to make a place for yourself when people around you firmly believe that what you are handling is due to inheritance and not because you’ve earned it. But as time progressed, with insights from the program and his fellow entrepreneur batchmates who were much more seasoned than him, Kush chiselled his way slowly into the fabric of his organisation. He worked hard, shoulder to shoulder with his team, brought in the so needed freshness, and worked on coming out with a product which is unique. Some accepted him & yet some scorned but he was relentless in his pursuit. And there today he has made his mark, he has made his place, more so in the mind of that tough guy called the ‘Father’.
For all youngsters who are reading this post and are second generation entrepreneurs, I believe this post is for you. Here are few insights which might come in handy as you step into a very demanding world..
1. Earn Your Place - The first responsibility of the 2nd Gen entrepreneur is to earn respect through work & not demand respect because you are the owner's son. So dissolve yourself and work more diligently than anyone else in the company. You may still be sidelined, blamed, laughed at, mostly behind your back by the ‘seniors’. But that’s the price you pay for being the boss’s child. You got to gulp all that down, accept it and just focus on giving your best. Remember it’s you who has to make a place, not them.
2. One step at a time - Pick up one area to begin with. Don’t go about involving yourself in the entire functioning of the company in the initial days. Do see, do listen and understand the way a company functions (as a founders relative that Benefit you got to have) but don’t indulge in more than one functional area to begin with. Master that aspect of a business, bring some momentum there, bring in a change there. Always ensure that your involvement adds value to that function of business and then only move on to other areas. I believe you should choose a function which you are strong in or have a liking to. That way you’ll be more keen to continue in spite of hurdles coming your way.
3. Align yourself with the company’s vision and purpose - As a fresher and that too at a senior level you’ll be more inclined to bring in a new vision and value system to the company. I would say hold on to your horses. First, align with the existing system, become one with it and then think of bringing a change. As long as you are seen as an outsider your change initiatives will hardly garner any support.
4. Never stop learning - No matter what education you went through, the fact is that your engineering, your MBA will not suffice in the entrepreneurial world. Our education should be an enabler to help us learn more, it should open our minds, make us inquisitive and curious and not make us arrogant. But sadly I meet many who feel a degree is the end of their learning phase whereas it should have been the beginning. Education fails when after acquiring it we don’t want to have more of it.
5. Continue listening to your heart - Every youngster enters a professional life with lots of dreams. Dreams of how work would be, of how workplace would be, of how they’ll make it big, of how they’ll give to the world a product which didn’t exist till then and many more. But the real work life turns out to be so different than what they had imagined. Don’t get bogged down by this realisation. What you bring to your company is freshness for you don’t have baggage of the past. You’d have to fight really hard to retain your core and not become a replica of the existing system. So along with being engrossed at work to find time to do whatever appeals to your heart. It may be something within your working domain or outside it. So don’t let go of that guitar playing time, don’t let the cricket pitch miss you, don’t let your friends be deprived of your weekly appearances. While doing business do not let go of things that defined you so far otherwise 10 -15 Years from now life would be a bagful of regrets. Do listen to your heart.
The organisation which you get as a second generation entrepreneur is a wonderful platform which is built on years of hard work and sacrifice. Not many have that privilege. Now it’s your responsibility to take it to the next orbit and build on to the success of your parents' generation.