The first generation of the family business grew by investing long hours of hard work and detailed attention to customer service. The owners got to know customers through long conversations over dinners. Loyal customers told the first generation owners when something was wrong. They would complain and might even make a suggestion and then wait for the first generation owner to tell them how the problem would be remedied and then offer a discount or tangible evidence that the suggestion and continued loyalty is appreciated. Often the first generation owner would immediately call the second generation employee in to demand that the customer’s problem be fixed immediately.
Ahhh…the good old days. Continued customer purchases were usually yours unless you didn’t fix a problem.
The majority of second generation owners have been fixing problems for most of their lives. They now realize that customers may not always let you know what went wrong and most reluctantly admit that their customers don’t readily suggest solutions or remain loyal customers when the business had fixed a problem.
Now the third generation comes along and views the first generation as having more time to talk and make friends. They also view the second generation as worriers who are too focused on problems.
The strategic growth plans of today’s companies led by third generation owners are fascinating. They typically want to create, leverage new technologies, stay ahead of customers and not wait/react to complaints. They often assume that customers won’t openly share what they want, think, expect or feel. Third generation owners tend to want to make their mark on the world while having more personal time for family and leisure.
Think about how this trend impacts the research needed to guide strategic direction and growth. What do you think? Am I way off base?
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.