A Major Barometer of Future Success: The Ability to Evolve - Al Zdenek

As our family business has grown and diversified, we have also evolved our business model to reflect an exponential – rather than linear – mode of thinking, spinning one business into the next and always growing in some form or fashion as we step from one investment to the next.  In each instance, we carry  the expertise we gained from one venture into the next. In each enterprise, each a standalone entity, we learned something new and then built on that, refining the knowledge over years, decades, and now, over a century – working that ever-evolving DNA into our company systems. In short, we are incrementally building for future success.

There will no doubt be hesitancy when growing, adapting, and evolving your family business. Change in the demand for products or services is inevitable; your family’s ability to seize new opportunities is a significant interruption and a possible determinant of future success.

For our family, some businesses have come and gone; still, those experiences have helped us to evolve while at the same time helping our core businesses remain strong. Our ability to embrace change by investing in and developing businesses, which are built on the same common core values, allow these businesses to be independent parts in a greater concentric circle of growth.

You Don’t Need to Be an Expert to Start  

How does one know good opportunities from poor ones? Where is the line between a worthy risk and a costly one? It is found in the balance of intuition, research and core understanding of fundamental business practices. You don’t need to know everything there is to know about a particular business or industry to invest in it. If someone came to me and said, “Invest in chocolates,” the first thing that would come to mind is that I don’t know anything about chocolates – although ironically, the first business I ever took on as a personal venture was a chocolate business with a Belgian entrepreneur.

But that wouldn’t stop me if I thought there was potential in the idea. There are key core elements one ought to know, such as how to evaluate a business balance sheet, how to review a marketing plan, how to do an advertising process, etc. And understanding that human resources are key and managing them well is vital in any business. You need to have that core knowledge that can be carried from one business or industry to another. This, and continuous education, are invaluable qualities when it comes to growing business.

Leverage Your Core Knowledge

When you understand that your core understanding and knowledge of running a business can be used to invest in additional businesses that support each other, your family can create a corporate structure that encourages this kind of evolution with future generations.  It becomes a legacy of empowerment that allows family members to build on individual passions while growing the family business.  Building the importance of evolution and an entrepreneurial spirit into your family business DNA will ensure continued engagement through the generations.  Encourage passion and opportunity by leveraging what you know.  Doing so will only strengthen your existing businesses.

Learn more about growing your family business by visiting, (insert desired site) and be sure to read my upcoming article on cultivating a family of entrepreneurs.