Go Slow to Grow Fast ISBN: 9781946633477. Forbes Books copyright and written by Brent R. Tilson.
The author opens with an introduction explaining his early moves and development as an entrepreneur, his early positions and final decision to proceed with his own entrepreneurial activity. Specifically his activity is aiding big business owners to avoid the trap suffered by so many. According to an MIT study, 1 in every 4 high growth businesses fail within 6 years and one of the most important affects actually, the company’s largest investment item, the employees. Frequently in fast growing companies a culture clash occurs between seasoned and new employees. Here, a way to avoid this difficulty is presented along with precise ways of avoiding and/or remedying the other numerous problems resulting from growing too big too fast.
The material is presented in eight chapters using driving an automobile and problems encountered therewith as a template for comparison. Chapter 1 is Losing Traction followed by Slipping out of gear, Overheating, Into the Garage, Shifting the Operations Gear, Shifting the People Gear and Driving and Thriving.
Discussion: Some of the many problems encountered will be familiar to individuals running ‘big’ businesses. For each of these the author provides a workable answer. Included among them, besides moral and decrease in average tenure of employees, are such matters as loss of a major client, operational weaknesses, weak performance management practices and more. There are a growing number of books dealing with business problems today. All seem to offer large amounts of helpful suggestions. This is the first I have read that targets that specific group of businesses, and there seem to be a growing number, that have experienced rapid growth. This would appear to be required reading for such an audience before the problems encountered become too big and disaster sets in. Parenthetically, the closing statement by the author regrettably may not ‘set too well’ with some readers. However, this reviewer was particularly impressed with the author’s final statement. He graciously acknowledges numerous individuals who have been helpful in his obviously successful career and has the commendable temerity to end with “Finally, I am thankful to be covered by the grace of my Lord Jesus Christ, without him I am nothing.”
5* Especially for targeted group.
Interrupted Entrepreneurship ISBN: 9781946633361, Forbes Books by Ramėz A. Baassiri.
The subject of Baassiri’s book is to provide information with respect to retaining a business through many generations. According to a compilation of statistical facts, this indeed is a daunting task. The author’s research discovered that “…even though family firms make up two-thirds of the businesses around the world, they struggle to survive beyond generation one” and that “only about 30 per cent of family firms make this transition successfully, while only 10-15 percent make it to generation three and only 3-4 percent make it to generation four. What’s more, it is estimated that 70 percent of a family’s inheritance is lost by the second generation and 90 percent is gone by the third generation.” The author, desirous of extending his own family business researched further and discovered that “those families that do survive are the ones willing to keep an eye on new horizons. Just because a business model or product has worked in the past doesn’t mean it will continue to do so, and while innovative diversification and delving into something altogether new could be disruptive (IE), it is an opportunity to negotiate a new path.” He then provides numerous examples of families who did just this followed with seven more chapters expanding upon how his family accepted a powerful key interruption and the adjustments they had made and how expansion of earlier preparations aided. These he followed with an eighth extolling the need for forward, positive thinking.
Discussion/Conclusion: The author has provided a template upon which to extend a family business for countless generations. Among many suggestions offered are: “Live what you love and love what you do” and to “hone your skills toward what you love to excel in”. Also included are the necessity to believe in yourself, openly communicate, be trustworthy and able to trust other family members, establish a sound basic constitution (actually similar to that of the U.S.) for running the business, avoid confrontations among the ‘board’ with respect to hiring, firing and other minutia, and above all, the CEO must be resilient, self-controlled and forward-looking with respect to entrepreneurial interruptions. The book, as so often seems to happen, offers description and suggestions somewhat repetitively throughout the chapters. However, the material provided is well documented and even scholarly in its presentation with a quite impressive list of 210 references. Thus, it is a must read for any individual running a family business or anyone anticipating such action. Also immensely interesting material as collateral knowledge for the intellectually curious.
5* Must read for family owned business; fascinating for intellectually curious.