Nurturing enterprising kids in your family-A A +A
Sunday, March 17, 2013
WELL, yours truly used this column to answer several questions people often ask me and summarized into two general queries about having grown-up kids with an entrepreneurial spirit. The first question: What did my late husband and I do to create my situation? And the second: What would I advise for others particularly to parents like us?
People ask me those questions because two (2) of my kinds (sons) runs the thriving communication and its allied service center business and the other one is on trading business activities you found at the Central Business District in Baguio City. Three of them are employed offshore but still the eldest have his part time job utilizing his skills by teaching on line English the second language to foreign kids and likewise my other kid do his part time work by accepting repair and maintenance services of computers to his network and the youngest is a Registered Nurse but still in his heart wanted to put up his own pharmacy business.
I didn’t set out to create a family business or a start-up. I was in my teenage years when I used to assist my cousin do trade vegetables and other sort of things to sell in the marketplace….in a small town where I lived. During my secondary schooling, I brought with me packs of candies and biscuits to sell during recess time to my classmates. I enjoyed selling for I earned profit to finance my school uniforms, shoes, notebooks, and other things needed for my high school studies.
I was married in my mid 20s, with five young children, all boys. I was fully employed then at that time but me and my husband started a boarding house and catering service business and integrated a buy and sell store. During weekends, we include the kids to assist and join us in the selling activities but it never came to mind that family members might someday put up their own enterprises... My husband and I were just trying to make a living letting our kids to help us in our business and finding people who would value our products and services.
But here’s what happened, when my second child Mark Louis graduated college, I suggested him to apply and join the workforce in a government agency. Mark definitely turned down my advice. Instead, he strongly responded that he will make more money by putting up his own business. True to his persistence, he ended up having established a thriving enterprise same is true with my other kids.
Regarding that first question about what my husband and I did or didn’t do to create such an entrepreneurial children, I have to say it didn’t happen on purpose or according to any plan. But when I look back, I see, in retrospect, two important factors which there was no pushing. We did never assumed, as we raised and educated our children, that we were pointing them in any particular direction. True, we did enlist them at crunch times to help with our family-run business. But there wasn’t even the slightest hint that they were supposed to work and put up their family-own business at some point.
Teaching our children was about learning, not preparation for a business career. Four of them have undergraduate degrees from prestigious schools and one finished his technical-vocational studies but there is only one have a business major among them. They chose their own colleges and studied what they wanted and found technology and entrepreneurship later.
Regarding what I would recommend or rather advice for others, I see both advantages and disadvantages in mixing business with family. In my case, the advantages won out, but that isn’t always the case. Some people often resist the idea of doing business with spouses, parents or children because relationships supposedly suffer. There can indeed be a tendency to mix business discussion with family interactions, and I’ve seen and observed in some of that in dealings with people running their family businesses. There’s also a tendency sometimes to fall into old patterns and habits, parent to child and child to parent. We try to avoid it, but it really happens.
According to Ms. Ma.Anges Angeles, one of the resource speakers on Success Factors of Growing an SME Family-owned Business during the Financial Management 101 for SMEs seminar that was recently conducted and sponsored by the SME-Academy of Planters Bank in cooperation with the DTI-Benguet and the Municipality of La Trinidad on March 15, 2013 at the Municipal Gym mentioned that there are ways to ease out concerns and problems that may arise in the conduct.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on March 18, 2013.