I was going through a list of self made millionaires/billionaires in Pakistan and its interesting and perhaps noteworthy that a negligible amount are from this generation. The reality is, “daddy or great grand daddy” earned most of the current money within the coffers of the current generation. So then really, these kids/young adults are realistically Millionaires in Training (MIT). Substantially different from the other MIT that encourages and creates entrepreneurs and creates real and true wealth.
Looking a bit deeper, the entrepreneur syndrome is pervasive no less in the second generation M.I.Ts. I scoured the web for profiles of at least a few dozen-second generation M.I.Ts, without fail every single one of them lists “entrepreneur” as the central theme in their glorified profiles. An other interesting fact is that most of them started their career at twenty some thing with a Director of “something” role. That’s what wealth buys you, a seat at the table. But there is no reason to apologize for a noteworthy lineage of wealth.
My simplistic view is as follows, if you had 10M$ available to you, for arguments sake and you went and licensed a popular casual dining/fast food chain that you’ve seen from your various privileged child hood trips abroad you are not worthy of calling your self an entrepreneur, you can no less call you self an opportunist of the first order and some one who understands business dynamics really well. That, I will give you. You deserve the praise that in a stable of a few dozen similar individuals with equal or more cash than available to you, you were the first to realize an opportunity existed and you beat most if not all to market with bringing established brands to your home country. But that doesn’t make you an entrepreneur or a business wizard. That just makes you some one taking the easy road to glorified business success.
What really should be happening is the deployment of these funds available, into enabling Micro and SME type transactions. Wealth creates more wealth, but the deployment of this wealth(by M.I.Ts) into under served and upcoming segments with local and regionals solutions is what’s needed. Then these M.I.Ts would make a real difference and create true wealth independently and leave a lasting impact.
If they continue to invest in Sugar Mills, Processing Plants, Textiles, Tanneries, Power Companies to name a few, they will never be able to impact areas that need both capital and strategic partners which these M.I.Ts can prove to be, at a concession stand ticket price in most instances.
The focus should be to move away from capital intensive, or industrial businesses to more localized, impactful ideas. Become seed stage investors and help cultivate the entrepreneurs whom they invest along with. This is the only shot these M.I.Ts will have towards true greatness and in redeeming themselves as titans of industry. If they continue down the generational path they have historically they will just be “Mr. X’s Son/Daughter” of “XYZ Fame”. Time to change the rules of the game and re invest in the country (a little differently) that made their father and forefathers wealthy, but slightly adjusting their own outlook. Since the industrial and agriculture space creates a bulk of the jobs, by no means is this an invitation to stop doing that. The idea is for diversification. So you ask how do you seed the thought for this diversification?
It’s a good question, when you as an M.I.T have been classically conditioned to think about one thing since you opened your eyes, its difficult to have an other perspective. The first realization is the fact that you need to diversify and look else where. Like an Alcoholics Anonymous success criteria, the first step is to recognize you have a problem. This can only come from within. What comes after that can be achieved much like AAA meetings with support from others and a network of supporters.
In the corporate world such supporters. more and more coming from the outside. In the form of Chief of Staff roles that work with these M.I.Ts and established CEOs alike. The Chief of Staff generally works behind the scenes to solve problems, mediate disputes, and deal with issues before they are brought to the Chief Executive. Often Chiefs of Staff act as a confidante and advisor to the Chief Executive, acting as a sounding board for ideas. Ultimately the actual duties depend on the actual position and the people involved. Given the inexperience in many ways of the M.I.T breed of CEOs propping up, this could be a saving grace in many ways. But for this to happen, the M.I.Ts need to move past the “saith” ideology of “saith” knows best.
It is some thing the M.I.Ts should look at. Bringing one on board without sacrificing egos, that they are incompetent or working their way up the ladder. This is the buffer that is missing in Pakistan. The smart M.I.Ts will recognize this quickly, the same roles exist in some ways in the form of Board of Directors that their parents have deployed and whose counsel they seek in matters of business. This is the one true shot the M.I.Ts have in creating their own working mechanism and define how they would do business and it really wouldn’t hurt to enlist some smart folks who would help them in the journey.
Its always easy to spot the smart M.I.Ts from the crowd, they are realigning them selves to have smart plays in new business domains relying on expert advisors and Chief of Staff personnel to setup their own family offices and build their own business frontiers. It does help to have a fully funded bank account, to bank roll the ideas, ventures and companies that will help them define their own legacy.