Thawing Second/Third Generation FREEZE


You are bright, well-educated, experienced, and you are now the primary leader of your family’s business. If that is your circumstance, congratulations on getting through the often difficult succession process. Hopefully, you are in charge because your parent(s) are happily retired or have moved on to another venture rather than being forced to step back due to illness.

While this opportunity is exciting, it is also a HUGE responsibility.  Every President of a privately held business feels the weight of his/her office.  Phrases like “lonely at the top” come from somewhere. But if you have a deep respect for what your grandparents and/or parents have done, you feel an even deeper sense of responsibility.  The phrase many of the Presidents of my family-owned business clients have used is “a sense of stewardship”…and it has FROZEN many of them. How can you be an effective leader if you don’t want to take a chance, risk failure, or disappoint anyone?

One of the techniques to get UNFROZEN is to build your strategic growth plan one “chunk” at a time. Invite your management team to help you figure out how to incrementally grow and protect the company’s core/legacy products. That helps you breathe. No matter how bright you are, you need all of the oxygen you can get. Then move on to the discussion about how to add more vitality to the innovation process so new products can be provided for your company’s best customers.  Next, move on to improving your company’s capacity to identify, analyze, and select new markets for you to provide the legacy AND the new products. You guessed it.  The next discussion would be about ways to sell new products to the new customers.  This is one of the classic approaches to portfolio management/strategic planning.

The second technique is to identify an optimum size for your business.  At what size would your company need to be to become more resilient and be able to hire talented star performer(s) who could lift your company to a whole new level?  Would that kind of change require 30% growth? 40%? 100%?

Now combine the two techniques.  What percentage of the desired growth should come from existing products sold to existing customers? From new products sold to existing customers? Etc.  Get the buy-in of key members of your management team and that FROZEN feeling is behind you.

About Aldonna Ambler:
Known as The Growth Strategist®, Aldonna Ambler built and grew a suite of companies to help midsized B2B companies achieve accelerated growth with sustained profitability® A Certified Speaking Professional (CSP), Ambler has addressed over 2000 audiences and hosted a syndicated online talk show about growth strategies for 9 years. As a growth financing intermediary, Ambler raised over $1 Bil dollars for midsized companies. The winner of over 2 dozen prestigious national and statewide "entrepreneur of the year" awards, Ambler is available to speak about “profitable growth during any economy” and/or serve on the board of a growth-oriented privately-held company.

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