Business Lessons: A Group of Business Owners Share Their Success Stories
It is never business as usual when a son or daughter joins the family company and is groomed to take over from the previous generation. It can be helpful to seek different perspectives from people who haven’t spent their entire lives together.
Imagine this scenario: You are 27 years old, you have been working in your father’s business for about five years and it’s time to make a decision: Do you want to take over?
Roy Eastman, who founded ElectroShield in Yellow Springs, Ohio, in 1976, had begun talking about retiring a few years ago.
Although Nick Eastman has been around the company his entire life, it’s a giant step to go from working for your father to running the business. When he made the decision, he was wise enough to seek counsel.
“About a year ago, I was thinking about what I need to get done for the year,” Nick says. “At that point, I decided I was going to take over the business. I knew I needed to start developing a network of people that I could reach out to.
“I talked to a friend who is a web developer … and he told me about Aileron. I checked it out, took the presidents’ course in October, found out this is it, this is perfect.”
Eastman and ElectroShield – a distributor of electronic components – fit snugly into the Aileron wheelhouse: a small, family owned business that can benefit from professional management and a network of people who have traveled a similar path in their companies.
“They (Aileron) have been instrumental in pointing us toward goals and helping us achieve that,” Nick says. “It has been very (eye-opening) for me. They have prepared me to lead. The network of people that I’ve met is a very, very important thing that I’ve gotten from them.”
Defining goals and offering support, both technical and personal, is a good description of the Tool Talks programs. The one that focused on forecasts stands out.
“It happened right when I was in the middle of building a failed forecast,” he laughs. “Someone brought in another forecast they had developed for their company. I understood the value of what I was trying to create before, but I got to see the specifics of how you can do it.
“Obviously, we had to do it our own way for our company, but it was all right there in front of us. It was pretty incredible.”
That’s the beauty of Tool Talks, which focus on a single topic among a small group.
“Somebody shows the tool, you ask questions, and it gets opened up to the whole room,” Nick says. “There is somebody who has already developed something that is working, they present it, and then there are people like me who are part way through the process, but have more detailed questions.
“That’s Aileron in general. You may be around companies that are selling different stuff, but (the problems) are the same.”
Just like the real world.