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Thought Leadership

Every business started off as an idea in the hands of an innovator willing to take a risk; to plant a seed and watch it grow. As nature takes its course, the business is eventually passed down to the hands of a successor. Though it is no longer a seed (but rather a growing entity with a lasting legacy) the business needs to be nurtured in order to survive.

So what could be the difference between the first and the succeeding controller?


The First Generation Entrepreneur planted the seed. They invented every process of the organization. On the flip side, a second or third-generation business owner naturally inherits the process of how things were once done.

One of the biggest risks a successor takes when inheriting a business is adopting the associated processes without evaluating if they are still the right processes. As time goes on, the key is continuous invention. Is the business continuing to innovate, independent of who is now in charge?


The multi-generational business owner is faced with legacy hurdles that the first-generation never experienced. Honoring a legacy prompts the question of “Is this what the founder would have wanted?” when the more important question should be “Is this what is best for the business?”

There is the added risk that a multi-generational business owner may be resistant to change an existing process under the false assumption of doing it the “right” way or honoring what he/she thinks the founder would have wanted. Since FGEs are not faced with this obstacle, they are typically less intimidated by implementing change.


It boils down to the risks and challenges that evolve as the generations progress.

As the business grows, new obstacles arise and unprecedented opportunities present themselves making the journey of the founder much different than the journey of the successor. What may have been a hurdle in the emerging states of business development loses its relevance in the succeeding generations. Likewise, the founder probably could not have predicted challenges the successor will inevitably face as the business continues to grow.

The Emerging Entrepreneur Experience team is an ally and advocate of business owners. We admire the passion, understand the process and have experienced the journey. In words of our Founder & Principal, Randy Gerber, “we work with first-generation entrepreneurs because they’re the first. Maybe not the first one to do it, but they’re certainly the first one to do it their way.”