If your business is prepared to make it to the second generation and beyond, the bigger challenge becomes how to transfer your secret sauce onto your next-gens without controlling it from the grave. How can your family preserve the culture, values and traditions when your rising next gen leaders want to radically transform your business and products to attract today’s millennials and Gen Xers? How do you innovate and grow the business to compete and succeed in today’s hypercompetitive business world, without destroying the golden goose? This is the paradox that will be explored at the UNM Anderson School’s Parker Center for Family Business fall symposium on Nov. 8.
I grew up in a traditional Midwestern Irish family with 11 siblings. My dad was a World War II veteran working hard to put food on the table while building his career across multiple public companies. Eventually, he acquired a small business that he hoped to build into something special. At the same time, Mom and Dad raised us to be independent, competitive, self-sufficient individuals. “Go to college and follow your dreams!” they insisted. That was before dad realized he wanted to keep his business in the family for succeeding generations. His hope was to protect his business from “IRS marauders” and “equity capital vultures,” while using it as glue to keep his big family close. He longed to find a way that his business could benefit his co-workers, customers, community and his family through future generations