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Edition 50 – Bravado

Happy New Year. Here’s hoping that 2017 brings you and your family good health, much happiness and unbounded prosperity.

I’m truly excited about the opportunities that 2017 presents for family business.

To start you off on the right foot for 2017, let’s think about bravado for a moment.

Not bravado in a manly way. But bravado in a family business sense. Do you have the bravado to take on big decisions and see how they’ll transform your family business? Do the owners and the management team in your family business have the bravado to say, “I’ll have a crack at that?”

Let me explain with an example what I mean by bravado.

One of my great family business clients was presented with a significant opportunity a few months ago. The opportunity involved:

  1. Work in the space they operated in – their sweet spot.
  2. Providing a service to a marquee client.
  3. Building on the work in their sweet spot to further develop new business services to this potential client.
  4. The chance to significantly grow their business.
  5. The ability to develop a profile that would have enabled them to roll out additional services to existing and new clients.

The owners of this business assessed the opportunity. They identified the risks. They understood they would need to recruit new staff. Existing staff would need to be trained in new skills. The management team would need to bring themselves up to speed on how this new line of work had to be completed. Any legislative requirements needed to be analysed and implemented.

So, with the understanding that there was a lot to do and a lot of knowledge they would need to take on quickly, they adopted some bravado. They had a crack, jumped in and put their best case forward.

Now, as it turns out, this great family business missed out on the opportunity. There were a number of reasons why they missed out. However, they had a crack and they learned a huge amount in the process. They learned:

  1. How they would pitch the work differently, next time.
  2. What they did wrong in preparing and presenting the rejected proposal.
  3. What they did right?
  4. Why they missed out? This was easy – they merely asked the contracting party for a reason and received it.
  5. What gaps their employees had in their skill sets in order to take on this level of work?
  6. What management capacity they had, where it was lacking and where they needed to focus on recruitment and talent development.

For most family businesses, a big rejection sets them on their backside. The owners and manager stop and pontificate over why they missed out, but not in a constructive manner.
Not this family business. They had a crack. They lost out this time, but subscribed to the theory that this was not a “No” from the potential client. It was merely a “Not now”.

Recognising “Not now” happens in business and learning from those is why this family business can adopt some bravado when it takes on projects. The bravado to think bigger, differently and boldly.

When was the last time you adopted some bravado in your family business? If you won, why did you win? And, if you didn’t, what did you learn about the experience that took you to a different level next time.

This Week’s Tip

Stop filtering your thoughts. Stop filtering the opportunities that your family business has in business. Start contemplating what opportunities are out there. Remember, there are clients and customers that need your family business. They’re just waiting for you to adopt some bravado.