Eighty per cent of issues in family businesses around the world are identical, but the solutions are unique to every family, noted Sunil Kant Munjal.
Munjal spoke about how it gets increasingly difficult for each generation of successful businesses to persevere. “With little or no formal education, my father and uncles created the Hero brand from scratch. But with each generation, the challenges become more and more difficult. For example, we send our children to the best schools where they learn to think independently. Then, they return and we expect them to do what we want,” said Munjal.
Touching on conflicts that are faced by family enterprises globally, he said the binding factor was the culture passed down generations. “One of the most important things that I learned from my father was to take care of the people who work with me,” said the top executive.
Agreeing with him, Reddy shared anecdotes of how her father Prathap C Reddy always put healthcare first, even before business. “Helping people was my father’s sole intention. In fact, he often said that we should work to prevent people from getting hospitalised in the first place,” she said adding how it led to the family investing to spur innovation in medicine.
“There were times when my father was operating and my mother was in the pooja room praying for the patient. That kind of care and concern naturally passed down on to us,” Reddy added.
On the other hand, Gupta focussed on how he learnt from his father Qimat Rai Gupta “to never lose the people connect”. “My tale is similar to Munjal’s. My father too had an innate sense of entrepreneurship. He always took calculated risks but he treated his business like family.”
Responding to a comment Munjal had made earlier, Gupta added, “When business is small, it’s for the family. But when the business becomes big, the family is for the business.”