There was a time in history when your chance of becoming a successful entrepreneur was solely based on your family background. If you’re lucky to be born into a family that runs a good business, you are truly blessed to be the next generation entrepreneur for the business. However, today, even young students are venturing into entrepreneurial roles – some who make it big and excel in the big race and some who drop out before they reach the finish line.
Providing deep insight into the topic of our first webisode of the second season was Shri Devendra Surana in conversation with Shri Sudhakar Rao Director, Branding, ICFAI Group, and mentor and advisor to Metamorphosis Edu.
Shri Devendra Surana is an industrialist, economist, Managing Director of Bhagyanagar India Limited and Director of Surana Ventures Limited and Surana Group of Companies. The Surana Group of companies manufacture solar photo-voltaic Panels, auto electrical copper products, wind and solar power. He was inspired by his family business venture and did not doubt once to be a part of it. He excelled in academics all the way from earning a top rank in the Engineering and Medical Common Entrance Test to being chosen as the brain of the batch at IIM Bangalore where he did his MBA.
Drawing inspiration from a family-run business
Shri Surana truly enriched us with his own experience of growing up in a family that runs a business. Regarding the benefit of being born in a business community, he said “Yes, being a Marwari, there is a saying in our community that you don’t need an MBA because you’re born with it. You’re a Marwari Business administrator!”
The grooming that you receive from your home is also very valuable because you are exposed to the business first hand at a very young age. Families who run a business often tend to involve their children in discussions and decision making so that they are familiar with it. Shri Surana explained how he was part of the “breakfast meeting” since the age of 15 and how he used to visit factories with his father and his uncle. The exposure and knowledge gained through such experiences definitely increase your affinity to the work being managed.
Anyone can become an entrepreneur
Today, youngsters from non-business backgrounds are taking the plunge and trying their hand at starting their own business. With many angel investors ready to support innovative ideas and startups, everybody has a better chance to shine. And today, a lot of learning comes from peers, unlike yesteryears where you learn from someone who has already made it big.
“When I was growing up, you had to be born in a business family to become a successful entrepreneur. Now, with the right idea and the right type of backing, within 5 years a student can aim to become a successful entrepreneur,” explained Shri Surana.
Tips for parents to inspire their children
The values imparted to children by the family plays a strong role in what they choose to do in their adult life. Being born into a family that runs a business can become an entitlement or a responsibility for the child. Shri Surana explains that children can be made aware of their responsibility to maintain their legacy. “However, if you think that being part of this business, you’re entitled to a special privilege, that leads to the downfall of the family and the business.”
Another important aspect of developing next-generation entrepreneurs within the family business is to pass on the powerful sense of ambition to the youngsters. The younger generation should be open to taking risks and that’s what pays off.
Inspiring more youngsters to become entrepreneurs
Being an entrepreneur takes hard work, focus, perseverance, continuous learning, achievable ideas, and immense passion. It is for someone who strongly believes in their idea and is driven by a deep passion to make it come true. Of course, there is no greater joy than being your own boss!
In Shri Surana’s words, “Taking up a job is akin to slavery while you take up an entrepreneurship role, allows you to grow and flourish much more. To become a good entrepreneur, you have to become an impossible combination of a poet and a Baniya. Think like a poet and act like a Baniya.”
There is an innate ability to entrepreneurship which you can identify in children. Leadership skills can be recognized in homes and in schools. A child who is driven to get his demands met, come what may, could show skills of an entrepreneur. Training can also increase and improve the success rate of entrepreneurship. Stories of success and failures are also valuable assets to budding entrepreneurs. Also, a good entrepreneur should have a continuous thirst for knowledge. Concepts that improve the productivity and profitability of your customer can result in a great start-up idea.
Lasting anecdotes from your family
“Grow through innovation”. Shri Surana explained that all the businesses they had when he joined 1988 had disappeared by 2005. “We moved from a family business to a family of businesses.”
He recommended reading Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder is a book by Nassim Nicholas Taleb to learn how to be antifragile – the method of gaining strength by being non-fragile.
This Webisode was truly enriching and inspiring to students, parents, and aspiring entrepreneurs.