Every Family Business Founder faces this challenge

Even though our children have led a privileged life of luxury we want them to be frugal, ambitious, hardworking, focused, and street smart. So how can I pass on my middle-class values to my children even though they were brought up in wealth?

The journey of entrepreneurs is tough with 12-hour workdays and sleepless nights when they did not know if they will be able to pay staff salaries. Often firefighting all day long with barely enough cash to survive another week. They have fought street battles and been through a trial by fire which their children never experienced. 

So here is a list of things they can do to help the next generation develop the capability and resilience required to survive in a competitive business environment.


  1. Outside work experience: 

    Before the next generation joins the family business let them first work outside in a large professionally managed company for a minimum of 5 years. This will expose them to a competitive outside environment and teach them both business and survival skills and build self-confidence. They will also learn how large process-driven organizations work and this will help them scale their own family business.
  2. Start at the entry-level:

    All next-gen family members must first be put through a rigorous orientation program where they get to understand the basic operations of every function and division. If the factory operates in 3 shifts they must work in all the 3 shifts to understand the pain of a night shift. Then start work at the entry-level and understand the product or service. Shop floor exposure where they get their hands dirty is a prerequisite to success. 

  3. Report to an outside professional: 

    The first few roles, depending on the size of the operations, must be under the mentorship of a professional – not a parent or sibling. The best professional exposure is merit-based without any relationship bias.

  4. Role Clarity & Accountability: 

    Just like for any outside professional, every next-gen member must have a documented job description with clear accountability and deliverables. The culture of “accommodating” family members in roles with no clear accountability sends a wrong signal and vitiates the culture.

  5. Not every next-gen family member needs to join the family business : 

    At times next-gen are passionate about pursuing careers in industries outside the family business or starting up their own business. They need to be encouraged and facilitated – not forced into a role they don’t enjoy or don’t have the capability to deliver. Sometimes next-gen are unable to work together with a control-oriented founder who micromanages everything. “ Dad I love you and respect you ……but you are impossible to work with” is frequent feedback I get in the course of my work as Family Business Advisor. Allow them the space to work outside.

Harsh Chopra,
Family Business Advisor.


Advise leading Family Businesses on Next Generation Induction, Succession, Family Unity, Mediation, resolution of family conflicts, and professionalization of family businesses.



For more information about our Family Business Workshop : www.Partners4Growth.in