Passing on the family business

Many SME owners are now facing a challenge, as they consider the future of their business without them in the next 10 to 20 years.

One fun benefit of being in business for 30 years is watching the language of business evolve. These days it is cool to be an entrepreneur, a founder and CEO of a start-up, particularly when you are outspokenly motivated by making this world a better place.

In the process, you learn (and thanks to our communication infrastructure immediately share) some amazing life lessons.

Through practice and sacrifices, you become a better leader, person, creator of whatever ‘passion’ you are pursuing through your small business.

Of course, that is what small business owners have been doing for generations. It wasn’t thus articulated, so it didn’t sound – nor feel – so hip.

So I would like to acknowledge the un-applauded SME owners of the past, for whom being a start-up was something they had to play down to get taken seriously.

The cultural, business and media landscape favoured the larger, established business. However despite that, the SME owners often running family businesses kept on working hard to provide for their families and to grow their business, which grew our economy and created the standard of living that we now enjoy.

With SME owner's children all grown up, who in the past would be producing in the family business by now, our entrepreneurs have a generation of young adults with different interests, or, even when interests are aligned, choosing to forge their own way rather than working the family business.

This may feel like a loss of leverage and opportunity for the family and even the broader economy, but in reality, it is not.

Most businesses who survived for 20 years or more would have undergone major transformations. In our creative business, we started from wedding photography, then added video, then shifted to corporate video production, into multimedia, websites, mobile developments, digital design and strategy and more.

Beata Kade, Art of MultimediaThis technology driven evolution enabled us to pursue our passion for communication through diverse marketing, heritage and cultural interpretation, training and education, internal as well as external communication projects.

Along the way, my relentlessly creative and entrepreneurial husband Artur also founded a film school which produced 7 feature films and is now pursuing his passion of producing documentaries.

I often worried as a busy working mother that our children would be deterred from business, as they witnessed the hard work and many challenges of running your own show.

Yet interestingly, two out of three are very entrepreneurial and all three of them share the family passion for communication, education and personal transformation.

So perhaps the more important ‘family business’ to pass onto our future generations, facing a world of even faster and steeper technological and cultural transformation we experienced, is to pass on the entrepreneurial spirit; the drive and courage to face the fear and the challenges, to put your money where your heart is, to fail and pick yourself up and try again till you succeed.

Beata Kade is the managing director of Art of Multimedia.

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