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Interrupted Entrepreneurship™: Embracing Change In The Family Business Hardcover – January 31, 2018
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About the Author
For Raméz A. Baassiri, family man, entrepreneur, and writer, his family’s journey to create an agile, adaptable business is just as important as the day-to-day operations undertaken by the dynamic, multinational team members that constitute the company. Developing long-standing relationships with a wide variety of regional and international suppliers spanning various industries and continents was a journey that began with the bold steps of Raméz’s migrating ancestors from Lebanon to the far-off shores of South America, Africa, and the Gulf. The family business owes its current standing to the bold steps, leadership, and determination of Mr. Abdul Hamid Baassiri (Raméz’s late father), a global citizen. The entrepreneurial spirit started with A.H. Baassiri’s desire to seek new frontiers and his ability to read the landscape of opportunity, be it in the agricultural, industrial, or technological revolutions, all without compromising strong family values.
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The subject of Baassiri’s book is to provide information with respect to retaining a business through many generations. According to a compilation of statistical facts, this indeed is a daunting task. The author’s research discovered that “…even though family firms make up two-thirds of the businesses around the world, they struggle to survive beyond generation one” and that “only about 30 per cent of family firms make this transition successfully, while only 10-15 percent make it to generation three and only 3-4 percent make it to generation four. What’s more, it is estimated that 70 percent of a family’s inheritance is lost by the second generation and 90 percent is gone by the third generation.” The author, desirous of extending his own family business researched further and discovered that “those families that do survive are the ones willing to keep an eye on new horizons. Just because a business model or product has worked in the past doesn’t mean it will continue to do so, and while innovative diversification and delving into something altogether new could be disruptive (IE), it is an opportunity to negotiate a new path.” He then provides numerous examples of families who did just this followed with seven more chapters expanding upon how his family accepted a powerful key interruption and the adjustments they had made and how expansion of earlier preparations aided. These he followed with an eighth extolling the need for forward, positive thinking.
Discussion/Conclusion: The author has provided a template upon which to extend a family business for countless generations. Among many suggestions offered are: “Live what you love and love what you do” and to “hone your skills toward what you love to excel in”. Also included are the necessity to believe in yourself, openly communicate, be trustworthy and able to trust other family members, establish a sound basic constitution (actually similar to that of the U.S.) for running the business, avoid confrontations among the ‘board’ with respect to hiring, firing and other minutia, and above all, the CEO must be resilient, self-controlled and forward-looking with respect to entrepreneurial interruptions. The book, as so often seems to happen, offers description and suggestions somewhat repetitively throughout the chapters. However, the material provided is well documented and even scholarly in its presentation with a quite impressive list of 210 references. Thus, it is a must read for any individual running a family business or anyone anticipating such action. Also immensely interesting material as collateral knowledge for the intellectually curious.
The Author coins the term (IE), and so elaborately explains how they impact the continuity of companies .
Offering his own personal insights / family stories and other established family businesses and clans (Rockerfellers, Quandts); sharing those experiences that can help guide modern day family offices to becoming resilient entities that can be prepared for many of these issues that might arise.
Such experiences included highlighting the importance of corporate governance, embracing innovation / technological advancements and Connecting with the concept of competitive advantage for the family business.
The author also gives hundreds of examples of how old family businesses reconfigure and regroup to survive the modern age and stay relevant in tough times.
The book is a must read for anyone seeking a well descriptive, inside story of how family businesses grow, tackle and navigate ever changing business environments