March 25, 2017

Family Business Model: Can Become The Business of The 21st Century by Thandisizwe Mgudlwa

                  The concept of a Family Business is one that is seriously underrated. But the truth is that, it is the most viable business venture that the ordinary folk on the street is likely to succeed in. Some people may nit know that Coke started out as a family business. Loot at where it is to day. It is in the most famous and best brands of all time. With high rates of unemployment facing many nations across the globe. The prospects of many people finding job security today including academic graduates; and the masses in particular, are zero to none. Even the option of investing in a career in the corporate world and in other sectors has been proven many a times, to be an opportunity that will be enjoyed by a privileged few. The world of work has enormously changed to what is was say 30 years ago. However, not all is lost. With the advent of the Internet the world has become smaller. It has become easier today to run businesses online and offline. Other people first run a business online. The they start it offline as well. And other they do the opposite and start it offline, then go online. And on top of that, the E-commerce space, the digital economy and then you have one hell of an era. The knowledge economy has revolutionized our world. Many can be made 24/7. But for some reasons. Many people have let this opportunities to change their current financial struggles continue. Their goals and dreams go to waste without giving themselves a chance a better life. Competitions for jobs which involves recruitment agencies, overseas cheap labour, automation to name but a few factors hindering many people's changes of finding decent employment. It is based on those hindering factors that the Family Business model come into play. The Family Business venture is clearly a game changer for many in Africa and elsewhere. The business is modeled on various fronts. It is mostly a business that involves people possibly love, care and who want the best for each other. That is what family should be and must be. They are family after all Of course this is not always the case. But again, the same can be said about the corporate world and other sectors. The family unit, this is what everyone should and must strive for. To rebuild the family unit for the development of out communities, city, countries, regions, continents and the world at large. Business statistics around the the world confirm that out of every 10 companies that exist, only one will succeed in a period of less that 10 years. Some companies close down within three years and others follow suit soon after that. Many reasons are given for the failures of these companies, ranging from poor branding & marketing; low quality of the products and services; poor cash flow management, no and lack of proper bookkeeping, lack of quality well trained and so on and so forth. Be that as it may, the problem of joblessness remains a biting one for many governments and countries. Violent protests, marches and civil unrest are the order of the day when government's fail to create a conducive environment for economic grow and development to occur. And jobs can not be created on scale demanded by the unemployment rates. Social grants become some government's weapon in dealing with unemployment. Bu this too, is proving to be not the solution as the masses wreck havoc in many poorly managed countries in Africa and many developing countries, due to poverty. It is on that note the the Family Business model must be used as an alternative. The model involves people who are emotionally attached to each other. Many times they biologically connected. It involves people who live with one another and share spaces, resources and experiences. The Family Business model, provides dysfunctional and even broken families an opportunity at fixing their families. It allows people to come together and help each other out to achieve their yet unreached goals and dreams. This is a model that gives family members another chance at prosperity. It is a business that gives family members a new sense of purpose and meaning in their lives. Everyday becomes an opportunity to build the Family Business and to create a stable family fabric based on sound values, principles and ideals. With different set of skills, resources and networks, family members have an opportunity to create corporations that can severely uplift the family and can also create opportunities for other people outside the family, including job creation. The model offers families the opportunity to create a Corporate Social Investment (CSI) in their communities and other areas. Part of the model involves servicing the community in various ways. It could be cleaning the streets and that's promoting environmental awareness. It could be by adopting a school and assisting that school in finding whatever it needs to be a world class learning institution. The great thing about the Family Business model is that it can easily and manageably be based on various ventures including selling different products and providing a wide variety of services. Some family members may be involved in the venture on a part-time basis, while others can be involved on full-time basis. People must be given the freedom to choose. Some members may have jobs and/or be involved in other activities that keep them away from the Family Business a lot of the time. But they may have a genuine desire for the venture to prosper. At times they may even be the most sincere, committed, and even the biggest contribution to the venture even though they are involved elsewhere. A Family Business Strategic Plan with clear set out vision, mission, goals and objectives of the venture with time-frames will arrest any complications that negatively affect the Family Business. Their involvement elsewhere needs to be seen as an asset as they could be marketing the venture and acquiring skills, knowledge and resources to plough back into the Family Business. Of out-most importance, is the nature of the Family venture. Who should do what? When? How/ Why? Or the guidelines of the venture. This is one area that needs many compromises from all family members. As people have different goals, dreams, ideas, wants and don't wants, for the Family Business venture to succeed, family members must be considerate on what other members of the family aspire for. In other words, the venture can not be based on forcing things on people. It can not be oppressive on anyone. If people want to pull out of the business they must be allowed to do so with out any ill feelings towards them. People must have an opportunity to express their views and call for help and if and when the need arises. A system of rules and regulation is highly is a must to allow order and direction. It is highly non-negotiable that all family members must understand and accept the rules and regulations of the venture, as without the rules and regulations, unnecessary crises and fights are likely to occur and threaten the survival and success of the family enterprise. The family members need to do a thorough market research on what is the best business or businesses which get match the skills, education and resources they possess. Closer to home in the example of Kaizer Chiefs, which is another successful family business. Founded in Soweto, South West of Johannesburg, on the 7th January 1970 by Kaizer Motaung and a group of fellow soccer lovers, the club is now a family business owned by the Motaungs. With a revenue of $25 mil. – $50 milllion, Kaizer Chiefs employs 100-250 people. The Club falls under the Industry of Sports Teams & Leagues, Hospitality. As a special part of the Kaizer Chiefs family, being a card carrying member of the Amakhosi Supporters Club means you get to enjoy a whole host of incredible benefits from insurance, retail among others. With Hollard Insurance, the Clubs Insurance products include the Kaizer Chiefs Funeral Plan and Kaizer Chiefs Hospital Cash Back Plan which offer the opportunity to rest assured that a family is adequately covered in time of need. In February 2005 it was announced that Motaung would join the board of Primedia Limited as a non-executive director. Primedia is South Africa’s largest private media holding company and owns 40% of Kaizer Chiefs. Through good business acumen Kaizer Chiefs bought back the 40% stake from Primedia in 2012. Matuang has also served as a director on the boards of many other companies such as Royal Beechnut, Simba, New Age Beverages and Get Ahead. Other most successful ideas on what kind of a Family Business people can do would include buying and selling, livestock farming, agribusiness farming, real estate property, vehicles or big equipment, events & party equipment, multi-level marketing. Education and training in business course and seminars is a must do for success. It must be ongoing with reading of business books and other material. With on-going communication, support for each other, mentoring and coaching the sky is the limit in the Family Business world. Thandisizwe Mgudlwa is an internationally acclaimed journalist based in Cape Town, South Africa and writer of the bestselling children's book, 'Kiddies World'.

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