If your life’s work can be accomplished in your lifetime, you’re not thinking big enough.
— Wes Jackson

We were at a Young Lives fundraiser last night.  Some of our closest friends hosted a small gathering at a restaurant here in town.  The star of the night was a courageous teen mom who had been deeply affected by her involvement in the ministry and was charting a different story for the future generations of her family.  Before we were introduced to the amazing story of her survival, however, there was another person getting a lot of attention in the room.  Apparently this lady had won a season of the hit TV series Survivor.  I found out later that she had survived one month on the beaches of Somoa to win one of the 2012 contests.

The basic premise of the show is that you drop a group of strangers in a deserted area for one month with the objective to be the last one standing.  All kinds of strategies are employed and alliances formed as a war of attrition has them systematically vote one another off the island.  There is the whole story line about overcoming the elements and surviving the challenging circumstances, but it is really a show about people and relationships.

I woke up this morning thinking about the dozens of small business owners I know:

  • All them would like their businesses to continue to fund their cost of living.
  • Most are deeply concerned about caring for all those employees they have serving the effort.
  • Many are hoping to “cash out” of their business and have it fund the cost of their retirement.
  • A smaller subset of them are trying to build an organization with multi-generation survivorship… a business that will outlast their life and serve others into perpetuity.

It is less common to find a leader so concerned about their business serving others into future generations that they do the hard and necessary work to overcome the astronomical odds set against that idea.  According to HBR (Harvard Business Review), 80% of all businesses are family-owned and only 10% survive to the third generation.  A full 70% fail or get sold prior to the second generation taking over; a 30% survival rate.  There are normal challenges of environment, competition, etc., that face a business, but some of the biggest traps, according to HBR, have to do with relationships, people,  and their expectations.  Three huge traps:

  1. There is a place for everyone in the family.
  2. The business can’t grow fast enough to support everyone.
  3. Family members remain in silos.

To overcome all the obstacles facing a small business, not to mention the incredible tradition of generational failure, a small business owner better have in place:

  • A well coached leadership team
  • A succession plan
  • A transcendent vision
  • A deeply entrenched values/culture
  • A well-articulated strategic plan

That is a tremendous amount of work and it requires skills, ability, and understanding, that very few small business leaders possess or have the bandwidth to execute successfully.

In order for your small business to serve you into the future and possibly provide for subsequent generations… not get voted off the island of small business ownership… there are likely many things that have to change.  Getting roped up with some similarly-minded business owners and very specific coaching are crucially valuable in that effort.

If you are serious about doing the work and going on the journey to generational survivorship, let us know.  We can help.  We specialize in Kingdom leadership coaching.  Our team at SummitTrek has some great tools and lots of experiential knowledge to help!

Will your business survive you?

Are you aware of all that needs to change to make that a reality?

Is your life’s work big enough?