How to Keep Your Age-Old Family Business Afresh with New Ideas

Ever wondered how Mukesh Ambani would have fared if he hadn’t diversified to telecom from the petrochemical family business? One of the major problems why more than 70% family businesses fail is not that they were not equipped with the right resources, be it team, money or power. What they did lack was a string of ideas and the possibilities which follow any idea, that can be transformed into reality. But why is it so difficult for people already in business, to come up with innovative solutions for age-old problems? Why is our comfort zone of tried and tested approach always superseding the experiments of doing something new and better, not just to solve a problem but even to accelerate the existing way of working.



We list down how easy it is to generate ideas. What we need from you is an affirmation that yes, it isn’t so difficult after all, to create a string of ideas.

Identify the issue at hand – “Wheels of the bus go round and round, round and round” does this rhyme remind you of how the typical family business is thought of? Don’t reinvent the wheel but certainly make it in line with the times. Mostly all issues in a family business revolve either around technology or the team. Identify which is the bigger plague, and it could be more than these two, and move towards solution seeking approach.


Ask the right question – Once the problem or the growth-blocker is identified, frame the perfect question which you think is really the root cause of business issue in the first place. This is a very critical stage as all the following activities depend on how well this question is framed, in order to derive the best set of solutions. Identifying the key problem is the first step towards coming up with a solution. The question is almost always not “how can we resolve this” but instead it’s more of “how to achieve our business objectives”.



Brainstorm – This activity of brainstorming can either be very taxing or a complete revelation. Before starting, frame the problems in hand, draft a clear agenda of the whole activity and go outdoors with lots of chart papers, markers and sticky notes. Make sure you are accompanied by like minded people who have the ability to think productively and creatively. Brainstorm individually first, keeping the framed question in mind, and come up with as many possible solutions to the prob