Childhood exposure to the family business gave these leaders an insight into what it takes to succeed

18 March 2020

According to four successful executives who grew up immersed in the daily affairs of small business, there can be immense joy in the interconnectedness of intergenerational family firms – as well as enormous stress in economically straitened times. Both are a study in the realities of leading a company.

Dr Terrance Fitzsimmons, a researcher in business leadership at The University of Queensland Business School, says that the children of small-business owners are often exposed from an early age to adult business talk that can serve as a profoundly immersive apprenticeship.

“Business becomes part of their DNA,” says Fitzsimmons. “They can walk into a company in their early 20s and have a sophisticated conversation about profit and loss, balance sheets, loans, risk and employee issues because they’ve been observing their parents and doing it themselves.”

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