Guest AuthorPavan Soni

Growing Family Businesses- A two-day workshop at Bhilwara

By | Dr Pavan Soni | IIM-B Innovation Evangelist

One of the growing concerns with present day India is how do family businesses, which have supported Indian economy for centuries, adapt to rapid change. The rules of the game, which family empires have gotten used to and in fact have excelled in, have changed radically, and there are several challengers on the block which are far more nimble and resourceful. 
With the key members of the organizing committee 
One of the avenues family entrepreneurs have resorted to is to send their newer crop for higher education, especially an MBA programme, and expect them to infuse new vitality in the organization. While the business heir comes back with vocabulary and some key constructs, applying those to the family business is far from trivial. There is a constant rift between the tried and tested, and steady ways of doing business, and the radical ideas and concepts that the new person brings on. While both the approaches have their own merit, the difficulty is in reconciling those and crafting a sustainable strategy.
The badge given to each participant 
The workshop I conducted last week, under the leadership of Bharatiya Jain Sanghatana, was aimed to address this precise concern by bringing in the seasoned and new entrepreneurs and take them through a systematic way of growing their businesses. Equipped with tools and techniques of problem solving, ideation, and strategy planning, this group of around 60 participants was engaged over a two day period. The result was palpable, both in terms of sheer enthusiasm, and fresh thinking.
I am sharing the key takeaways from the session.
Setting the context and expectation gathering
With such a disparate audience at hand, it was utmost important to gauge the expectations, and also set the context such that by the end of the second day, the audience have some clear takeaways. For the same, I spend almost two minutes with each of the team members, and identified their industries, interests, and objectives from the session.
In this exercise, I was assisted by my friend- Pankaj Joshi. The participants were then arranged in group of five or six such that they share different backgrounds, and were given one primary industry to work upon. They had to essentially identify a working strategy by adopting various tools and techniques, as taught in the session.
As for the list of tools and techniques, you may download the presentation
Gauging the audience expectations
Mindmapping and industry analsysis
Next was the vital aspect of understanding the industry dynamics around each of the focal firms, in terms of customers, suppliers, government, competitors, and substitutes, amongst other factors. This was carried out by using a mindmapping format, done on chart papers. For many, this was an entirely new experience. 
Teams carrying out mindmapping 
Customer analysis, and business models
Then I took the audience through three very important tools meant for carving a niche for the business and clearly identifying the customer segments and the value propositions. These tools were 1) Three Tiers of Noncustomers; 2) Business Model Canvas; and 3) Buyer Utility Map. Carried out on the same focal industry, the audience could now, on day two, appreciate the importance of a systematic way of formulating a plan of action.
A filled-out Business Model Canvas

Applying the concepts to your own business
Finally, in the last leg of the workshop, the participants were encouraged to apply the concepts to their businesses, in either taking those forward or carving altogether newer ones.

Teams, by the sides of their business plans

In all, the workshop was meant to introduce the audience to a systematic and fun way of thinking of the business, than merely applying common sense, or worst still, fire fighting skills.
I believe that the participants carry forward some of the insights hence gathered, and apply those to their businesses and lives.

Republished with permission and originally published at

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