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Edition 146 – Entrepreneurial Enthusiasm

I’ve recently starting working with some new clients who are also new to family business. I often talk about the fact that most people start in business between the ages of 30 and 45 – right at the time of life when they’re getting married, buying their first home together and starting a family. This couple fit the template to a tee!

The thing that has struck me about this couple in the meetings that I’ve had so far is their incredible enthusiasm. They are positive about the future and have plans to create a dream life for themselves and their brand new family. Sure, there’s some trepidation about what is happening, however they’ve done something that a lot of people in life never do – they’ve backed themselves.

They’ve also understood that in order to get ahead, they need:

  1. Guidance.
  2. Support.
  3. Accountability.
  4. Someone to hold up the mirror.
  5. A pat on the back when things go right.
  6. A reminder, when they’re mired in the day to day, that they’re making forward progress.

The business is around 18 months old. Lessons have been learned at a fast pace in a short period of time. In the midst of welcoming a new baby into the family, they’ve also taken on their first employee – another sign of backing themselves as they walk down the path of their dream future.

They’ve recently picked up their first big project, off their own bat. Whilst their work up to now has been for others, this is the first gig they won for themselves. Asking Mum and Dad to relay the conversation that took place when they found out they’ve won the project was eye opening, inspiring and emotional.

It’s early days in the business and even earlier days in our work together. However, here are the positive indicators that lead me to believe that this family business is going to be successful.

  1. Mum and Dad support each other implicitly. Whilst Mum has a corporate role elsewhere, she’s there backing Dad up the whole way and positively reinforcing how good he is.
  2. He’s good at what he does – but hasn’t yet learned the art of blowing his own trumpet. We’ll get there.
  3. Integrity is an underlying characteristic in this couple’s makeup. They won’t do anything that doesn’t feel right. That means that people will trust them easily – and trust wins business.
  4. They have a bunch of connections from a past life they’d not even considered delving into for business purposes. The funny thing, this past life is actually a major lifestyle aspiration of his where a number of the relationships were built on trust and understanding.
  5. He’s already learning the art of self reflection and thinking through what he’s doing right and what he’s doing wrong. The key in our work is to help him focus on the “doing right” and not dwell on the “doing wrong”.
  6. They’re both listening and wanting to learn. From an advisor’s perspective, these two characteristics make our work together not work at all.

We live in times where there seems to be more negative news than ever. However, for me, the story of this young couple and their family business should be front page news. Their entrepreneurial enthusiasm is what Australia was built upon and they’re out there giving life in family business a red hot go. Good on them.