Every family business starts with a great innovation, or a great entrepreneur – or both – but as these companies move away from their founding generation, keeping the entrepreneurial spirit alive can be a challenge.
In a recent article I wrote for the Institute for Family Business (IFB), I discuss how and why this happens, and suggest strategies to encourage entrepreneurship and innovation in future generations. Ideas include defining in your family constitution how entrepreneurship relates to your family’s vision and values, and making sure your governance rules treat young family members as individuals by catering for their different interests and abilities. Also, growing up in a family business environment should help to put entrepreneurship in the blood of the next generation. Start from a young age, talking regularly around the dinner table about family business ventures and risk-taking.
Many families invest time and resources preparing their next generation for responsible ownership of the family business – yet, surprisingly, supporting entrepreneurship rarely features in this thinking. As time goes by, families need to work harder in order to keep their entrepreneurial culture alive and to make sure an enterprising business philosophy stays near the top of the family’s agenda.