What goes into taking a family business forward? Chandrakala Bobba explains

The legacy of a company is based on a foundation of years of work that go into making a brand out of a name, creating an identity that leaves a lasting impression, and carving a niche for itself in the market.

But this word ‘legacy’ bears down rather heavily on the shoulders, as the years pile on. It is that invisible force which affects every single decision and strategy, especially when it comes to a family business, and the next generation takes over.

Second-generation leaders need to use their legacy as inspiration and direction to grow, and not as a box they feel stuck in.

For me, the drive and motivation to do something in life started while I was in college and that became a starting point in my journey with my family’s business. The passion and zeal with which my father established the family business is what inspired me to start my journey on the same lines.

It was an organic transition that came without any force or pre-conditioned responsibility. I consider myself lucky as this was the best way for it to happen, as this is what has led to immense self-growth. 

Entering a space where the family is the head, is like a double-edged sword. It comes with its own set of challenges. One needs to learn to navigate these challenges without throwing their weight around, and without abusing the power they hold.

Chandrakala Bobba and her brother Balajee Bobba

Second-generation leaders play a pivotal role in professionalizing the business and building out new initiatives, building on the legacy of the first generation. They play a key role in shifting focus from a single vertical to a more diverse set of initiatives. They also add a lot of value towards new business strategies and streamlining processes that can take the company forward, while keeping up with the times.

Whatever one does, the spotlight is ‘always on’ when it comes to the second generation. It takes a while to find your groove, in the sense, coming to agreeable terms for any new strategy, considering the wide spectrum of experience that a family board comes with.  

Every business in every industry has a glass ceiling waiting to be broken. A family business is no different. However, it also provides a unique foundation that is tested time and time again, in the race to survive and thrive. Because we often tend to alter that very foundation in our journey of expanding, growing and evolving.

Here are a few learnings I always go back to in my journey so far:

  • To listen more (both to what is said and more importantly to what is not said). This has and continues to be my thumb rule for everything I do or start.
  • To control your emotions when at work and discussions or they will control you.
  • There will always be comparisons, competition, insecurity from colleagues. A young leader needs to learn to be the bigger person and work towards the bigger picture of the organization.
  • Equation with siblings in a family business also plays an important role in shaping up the goals of the organization. Respect for boundaries and an openness to feedback/criticism will take you far. It’s taken me and my brother this far!
  • When it comes to the business end, every intention and action has to be aligned with the organisation’s vision.
  • The only way to do great work is to love what you do.
  • Let your success make all the noise.

This article is authored by Ms. Chandrakala Bobba, Director, Bobba Group and Bobba Logistics.

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