How Growing a Business Is Like Raising A Child by Ron Parikh
Posted by: Ron Parikh
20th Jun 2016
Any parent will tell you that child rearing is a challenging, exhausting and rewarding undertaking. Even before a baby is born, there is work to be done. You have to see the doctor regularly to track the baby’s development. You also have to prepare the nursery and stock it with everything the baby will need. From the time a child is born, the parents nurture, look after and teach him. Over time, however, children need their parents less and less, and eventually, they become independent adults. Rather than being fully dependent, they only need to consult with their parents occasionally. This same process can be seen when you look at the conception, birth, growth and maturity of a business.
The Conception Phase
Perhaps one of the most exciting times for a parent is the moment they discover a baby is on the way. The same holds true for the conception of a business, once an idea begins to form, the excitement builds. At this stage, energy levels are high in anticipation of what the future will bring. It’s during this time that a business plan is formulated, partners are chosen and capital is raised. This phase can last for months, or even years, as the parties work together to create a business that has the highest potential for success. Once everything is settled, and the last details are ironed out, a new company is born.
Birth of a Company
Once the right players, capital, facilities and infrastructure are in place, it’s time to launch. The business is introduced to customers, and rivals alike. Much like a child in infancy, businesses at this stage need constant care and attention. Whether you’re working with six other managing directors, like I do at Chalak Mitra Group of Companies, or you’re working in a smaller group, it’s important to share the burdens. It can be a very stressful time, and you may well lose some sleep and miss out on other activities. When you personally can’t be around, you have to leave someone else in charge, to watch over things.
The Adolescent Stage
As kids grow, they become less and less dependent on their parents for the small things. Even so, there is still a strong need for parental supervision. Sometimes, this comes in the form of discipline, because the child makes a poor decision. Other times, it’s about providing encouragement to learn something new. This nurturing is also necessary in a fledgling business. Owners, investors and partners must continue to guide the business towards becoming a healthy, mature company. Every choice that is made is done so to encourage healthy growth.
Once a business matures, the founders and principles are able to take a step back and focus on other endeavors. It’s much like when a child graduates college, finds a job and starts a family. The parents take a more passive role in the child’s life, and spend more time on their own interests. However, in both cases, it’s important to remain available, even if it’s in the capacity of consultant. A parent may offer advice about family, or work. A founder may act as a mentor, or lend their expertise to help facilitate an acquisition, or other deal.
As one of the Managing Directors of Chalak Mitra Group of Companies, and a parent, I believe that patience is key. You cannot rush the stages of growth without causing some harm. Be prepared, in business, and in life, to put a copious amount of time, and energy into your prodigy. And never forget that your children, and your business, need your guidance well into maturity. You will leave behind a legacy of success that will last for generations to come.