DETAIL’s 9th Business Series Highlights Strategies to Build Resilient Multigenerational Enterprises

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Fadekemi Ajakaiye

The 9th DETAIL Business Series on the Future of Family Business: Building Resilient Multigenerational Enterprises, has emphasised effective collaboration between the founders and their successors.

Detail is distinct as Nigeria’s first commercial solicitor firm to specialise exclusively in non-court room practice. Based in Lagos, DETAIL provides legal services in the areas of Real Estate and Technology, Infrastructure, PPP, Power, Oil & Gas, Finance, Corporate & Commercial Private Equity, Capital Markets, , IP, Media & Entertainment.

“Effective collaboration between founders, the next generation and non-family staff by utilising an effective corporate governance structure is essential for fool-proofing the future of a family enterprise,” Chukwudi Ofili, Associate Partner, Detail Commercial Solicitors, remarked as he concluded the 9th DETAIL Business Series on the Future of Family Business: Building Resilient Multigenerational Enterprises.

Executives, members of the next generation and advisors attended this interactive Business Series and were taken on a journey of how best to build enterprises that would withstand the test of time.

This business series was hosted in collaboration with Nike Anani, a Nextgen coach, assisting NextGens (second generation family members in family businesses) in collaborating with the first generation business founders in building sustainable family enterprises. Nike emphasised the importance of diversification. “To build resilience in our family businesses, we must diversify by building up a performing investment portfolio that has a low correlation with the existing family business, in terms of asset type, geography, industry and currency.

Mrs. Audrey Joe-Ezigbo, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Falcon Corporation Limited, was an electric addition to the Business Series, sharing her expert insights from being in the driver’s seat of a resilient enterprise. She emphasised the importance of intentionally managing your workplace and family relationship. She went on to stress the importance of placing the right structures and frameworks in place to ensure that your business outlives you. “You should have an institutionalisation framework. Your systems, structures, policies and procedures must be in place and you must be disciplined to follow them consistently.”

The panel discussion with Mrs. Audrey Joe-Ezigbo and Nike Anani was engaging as both of their perspectives reflected the realities that exist between founders and the next generation. To this point, Mrs. Audrey Joe-Ezigbo emphasised the importance of respect. “Founders should respect the next generation that is coming into the business. Likewise, the next generation should ensure they are respectful when they bring their ideas to the table and should create a budget to deliver end to end. Both generations are bringing value and we must find a midpoint. The underlying necessity is respect for each other. It makes a huge difference.”

The importance of corporate governance structures was also a key outcome of the 9th DETAIL Business Series. Temidayo Ajaji, Senior Associate, DETAIL stated that “There is no one-size-fits all approach for family governance as it is dependent on the family dynamics and it varies as newer generations come into the business.”

Overall, participants gained key insights on how best to position their enterprises to navigate the competitive corporate landscape in Nigeria. Speaking to one of the ways enterprises can ensure they are ready to compete, Nike Anani stated “Diversification is like a weapon you are preparing in anticipation of war. The more diversified you are as a family, the more potent your weapon is. We need to be proactive, diversifying constantly, during the good times and the bad times. To stop diversifying at any time, leaves us vulnerable to attacks.”