"Don't allow external stories to become your internal story." - Nike Anani
Nike Anani is an entrepreneur and a consultant. She was rated as a top 100 Family Business Consultant globally. She helps her clients bridge the gap between the senior and younge...
"Don't allow external stories to become your internal story." - Nike Anani
Nike Anani is an entrepreneur and a consultant. She was rated as a top 100 Family Business Consultant globally. She helps her clients bridge the gap between the senior and younger generations.
As a result, they communicate, collaborate, and collectively gain clarity to increase profit and productivity in their family businesses. With over a decade of family business expertise in Nigeria, Nike helps owners lead their family organizations to long-term impact and legacy.
Her inside experience as a second-generation family business owner, birthed the passion to help other families in building legacy enterprises that would outlive them.
Nike is an accountant and a top-rated family business expert, with a family business and wealth advisor qualification from the Family Firm Institute.
She is a co-founder of African Family Firms, a pan-African association of family businesses, and the host of The Connected Generation podcast.
Nike's clients chose to engage her, not only because of her extensive professional training but also because of her practical experience as both a business founder and a NextGen. This allows her to uniquely empathize with both generations and act as a connector.
Nike is a champion for diversity and celebrates the uniqueness in every individual, family, and business.
The Deep Wealth Experience has you learn the 9-steps of preparation in 90-days. At the end of the 90-day,s you create a blueprint to help you optimize your business value. You also have the certainty of capturing the maximum value for your liquidity event.
This podcast is brought to you by Deep Wealth.
When it comes to your liquidity event, you have one chance to get it right, and you better make it count. Enterprise value is created from preparation and not the event itself.
Learn how the Deep Wealth Experience helps you maximize enterprise value. Master the same strategies our founders used to increase their company value by 10X.
Access the same 9-step road map of preparation that paves the way for success. Enjoy the certainty that you'll capture the maximum value on your liquidity event.
Click here to book your free exploratory call.
Enjoy the interview!
SELECTED LINKS FOR THIS EPISODE
Nike's podcast The Connected Generation
Simon Sinek's book Start With Why
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This podcast is brought to you by the Deep Wealth Experience. In the world of mergers and acquisitions, 90% of deals fail. Of the successful deals, business owners leave millions of dollars on the deal table.
Who are we, and how do we know? We're the 9-figure exit guys. We said "no" to a 7-figure offer. Two years later, we said "yes" to a 9-figure offer. In the process, we increased the value of our company by 10X.
During our liquidity event journey, we created a 9-step road map of preparation. It's the quality and depth of your preparation that increases your business value.
After our 9-figure liquidity event, we committed ourselves to help business owners dominate and win. The Deep Wealth Experience has you create a blueprint to optimize the value of your business.
Our solution is resilient, relentless, and gets results. Enjoy the certainty that you'll capture the maximum value on your liquidity event.
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Deep Wealth LINKS FOR THIS EPISODE
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Your liquidity event is the most important financial transaction of your life. You have one chance to get it right, and you better make it count.
But unfortunately, up to 90% of liquidity events fail. Think about all that time, money and effort wasted. Of the "successful" liquidity events, most business owners leave 50% to over 100% of their deal value in the buyer's pocket and don't even know it.
Our founders said "no" to a 7-figure offer and "yes" to a 9-figure offer less than two years later.
Don't become a statistic and make the fatal mistake of believing that the skills that built your business are the same ones for your liquidity event.
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Are you leaving millions on the table?
Learn how the 90-day Deep Wealth Experience and our 9-step roadmap helps you capture the maximum value for your liquidity event.
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Enjoy the interview!
Jeffrey Feldberg:[00:00:05] Nike Anani is an entrepreneur and a consultant. She was rated as a top 100 Family Business Consultant globally. She helps her clients bridge the gap between the senior and younger generations. As a result, they communicate, collaborate, and collectively gain clarity to increase profit and productivity in their family businesses. With over a decade of family business expertise in Nigeria, Nike helps owners lead their family organizations to long-term impact and legacy.
Her inside experience as a second-generation family business owner, birthed the passion to help other families in building legacy enterprises that would outlive them. Nike is an accountant and a top-rated family business expert, with a family business and wealth advisor qualification from the Family Firm Institute.
She is a co-founder of African Family Firms, a pan-African association of family businesses, and the host of The Connected Generation podcast. Nike's clients chose to engage her, not only because of her extensive professional training but also because of her practical experience as both a business founder and a NextGen. This allows her to uniquely empathize with both generations and act as a connector.
Nike is a champion for diversity and celebrates the uniqueness in every individual, family, and business.
Nike welcome to the Sell My Business Podcast. I'm excited for our listeners today because you have such a rich and diverse background, a wonderful story, and some tremendous insights.
Before we get going there's always a story behind the story Nike, and I would love to hear what your story is.
Nike Anani:[00:01:52] Thank you, firstly, Jeffrey, for having me, I'm really excited about this conversation. The story behind the story is my life story and my life obsession with family business was really inspired and birthed from my insight journey as a family business owner. So, my parents started off our first family business the year I was born. I take credit for all the inspiration. I'm the first of three and my parents were a young doctor and a young teacher out in Lagos, Nigeria. And out here, you would think that a doctor should be quite well off, but because of the economic environment, they struggled to give me the standard of living that they really wanted for me.
And so, my dad had to supplement his income by entrepreneurship and started supplying medical consumables to teaching hospitals and labs across the country. Two years in, he would stop practicing private medicine and did this full time. And so over the years that grew. So, it was always in the background whilst I was leading my life.
And at age nine, my parents took the decision to relocate the children and my mum to the UK for our education. So, hence the accent. So, I was out in the UK for many years. I went to uni, I worked in Deloitte for a few years where I worked in corporate tax international and became a chartered accountant.
But that really wasn't my passion. And I really didn't know what I wanted to do with my life. I couldn't tell you what would be my passion. And I remember having a conversation with my father and him saying, why don't you just come to Nigeria for three months? Why don't you get more exposure to the business and what I've been doing and the number of the investments?
Maybe I can introduce you to a few friends. You can get exposure to the real world, the real MBA in his words, and maybe that will inspire you and you will know whether you want to work. So, the idea was to come home for three months and here we are, 10 years later, I never left.
Jeffrey Feldberg:[00:03:53] Wow. So, the three months that turned into 10 years and counting, and obviously you're loving what you're doing. So, what are you doing right now in terms of your outreach with the community and how you're helping business owners in your neck of the woods?
Nike Anani:[00:04:05] My firsthand experience integrating into the business, working with dad and the family business, working with institutionalizing and what have you setting up the family office, it was a very lonely experience. They were many outlets in many communities with corporates or industry groups, but there were no communities for family business owners and family businesses have unique challenges that other non-family businesses don't have.
We've got this conference of two huge institutions, just creates all manner of interesting conversation. Dealing with succession planning, raising the next generation, having in-laws, and what have you. So, it was very lonely. So, I find myself in a place where a friend of mine set up a community for family business owners.
We established this last year and it's called African Family Firms. And the idea is to create community, a safe space in which family businesses can share with one another, learn from one another, and network. And also, platform through which they can be educated on succession planning, family governance, philanthropy, setting up family offices, wanting to sell your business all manner of different conversations that non-family firms don't have to deal with.
So, that's the non-profit community. I also have a for-profit consulting. A lot of my work is really helping with building generational bridges and family firms which has been my life experience. As I alluded to. I moved back 10 years ago and started working with my dad very closely.
And it was a really amazing experience. It lit me up in a way that the city of London did not. The entrepreneurial culture on the ground in Legos, Nigeria. But there were challenges in dealing with the move from corporate to family and also in dealing with discovering my own voice as a young leader. Feeling like I was in the shadow of my father because he was such a strong personality, not just in the business and in the family, but also in society.
I remember I would go out just for lunch on my own and random people would just stop me, you must be so and so's daughter. And I was like I have an identity of my own. That's great. I'm so and so's daughter. But I don't want to live in his shadow. I want to, lead authentically in a style that's congruent with who I am.
I want to also be sure that I'm choosing my life passions and my ventures and my initiatives very intentionally. I want to ensure that I'm able to bring my passions and my unique outlook to the business, for instance, through considering tech, considering professionalizing the business, considering things like impact investing, and what have you.
Yeah. So, a lot of my work is really inspired by my life journey in the family business. And I'm super passionate about African family businesses and family businesses at large
Jeffrey Feldberg:[00:06:51] What a wonderful story. And there's a lot for us to talk about with your story. So, why don't we start off with this, because this is really what you do day in, day out? I speak on behalf of Deep Wealth and the Deep Wealth Experience, too many business owners who are in family businesses. And typically, I see two distinct groups of business owners in a family business.
Let's deal with the first one. And so that first group, it's a family business. For any number of reasons, the next generation is likely not going to be stepping up to the plate to take over the business. And so now that business owner has to make some decisions because it's going to affect the family and the wealth of the family and what lays ahead. So, based on your experience where you've been and what you've been doing, to that business owner out there who has a family business that is not going to be transitioning to the next generation what are the kinds of questions and topics that should be thought about and acted upon?
Nike Anani:[00:07:51] I think, firstly it's to understand that it's not necessarily the end of the world, that the next generation are not coming into the battleground and taking hold of the ship. So, to speak, mixing two metaphors there because the families moving from one station to another. I think just largely families have three options when we're crossing this generational bridge.
One is to see that the management of the business, the leadership of the management moves to the family. That's one. Another option is it moves to non-family. So, nonfamily staff or your life work. We sell the business sell down or sell entirely. And I think in all scenarios, what's absolutely critical is succession planning.
And with your line of work wealth planning, a lot of business owners seem to think that selling the businesses an easy way out, but not necessarily. In all scenarios, it's important that we have a plan for the future, the role of the family. The role of the individual family members. So, for Johnny, he’s not interested in the manufacturing plants in the middle of the countryside but wants to set up his own tech fund.
That's not necessarily the end of the world. We have to understand that, like I said, we're moving into a new dispensation. The family's getting bigger. The business might be entering into a phase of slow down or maturity. And revenues might be slowing down. Profits might be slowing down or what have you.
It's important that we breathe life into the system by looking out for new ventures, new investments, new geographies, new products, new services, just some form of new to expand the empire. And sometimes your next generation might be a great kind of apostle that you send out into the world to establish this new venture.
So, there are many ways in which this can take shape. The foundational pieces. What do we want as a family? Who are we, what do we stand for? Where are we heading? And then what do we each bring to the table? Does Johnny wants to be the CEO of the business? And we come up with a plan for that, a development plan for that, or does he want to be just an advisory board member and run his own tech fund of working a nine to five? Or does he want to run a philanthropy unit or manage a family office if we're thinking of selling the business? I think traditionally in this field, we've always thought of family business being it's only a family business when it passes on in terms of leadership to the family, but that's not necessarily the case.
So, the family plays different roles. The families are an owner of the business. The family is in charge of management of the business. And so, we have to devolve and separate those two roles. There are different ways in which the next generation can bring their skills to bear.
But the important thing is including them in the conversation. Our world is becoming more disruptive. The business world is getting choppier and a lot more challenging and that's not to say it's impossible, but it's important to include the next generation who are digitally native, who are technologically fluent, and have interesting perspectives to bring to the table.
And they may not necessarily add the most value, like I said, on the battleground. Sometimes it's in the strategy room where you're formulating strategies. Just once a quarter, once a month, that adds even more value than being out there on the field.
Jeffrey Feldberg:[00:11:18] So, let's talk about that conversation because when I speak to the next generation, one of the tensions that often comes up is the next generation, and they don't communicate this. So, it's really not fair to the parents and in this case, but the next generation feels an obligation. Or maybe even a birthright to take over, but they don't want to do that. They do it out of obligation, out of respect, out of not wanting to cause a rift in the family.
And I'm sure you come across this day in, day out. So, this would be really advice to the current generation who's running the business. What can be done from the outset of establishing that kind of transparency and that communication where the next generation knows it's not an assumption, it's not a given that you're going to be taking over.
Let's have the conversation what's actually best for you. What can be done to facilitate that?
Nike Anani:[00:12:10] Excellent question. I think firstly, for some families it is the birthright. That's a value of a family that the oldest son or whomever it's the right of a family to be in leadership. Whereas for some it's really is merited. I think the important thing is for those families are really thinking about how can we inculcate the right value system for the next generation is to have an understanding of the business.
And to have an exposure to the business because they can't love what they don't know. So, from an early age, take them into the office, show them around. Summer jobs, internships, but then also giving them enough of a taste but also giving them sufficient room to make decisions for themselves as to what they want to do for themselves.
We've all done things out of obligation in our lives. And we can't say that necessarily the most sustainable. I know for a fact I've made some decisions in my personal life that were out of obligation and it just leads to a lot of suppression of negative emotion, which may erupt in the future.
So, that's not necessarily ideal. So, again, a lot of the time it's this kind of pressure on the next generation comes from the place of the current-gen, not understanding that the different dimensions in which the NextGen can add value to this business. It doesn't have to take form in just this one way.
Jeffrey Feldberg:[00:13:35] I really like how you have different roles for the next generation if they choose to go in that direction. But let me ask you this because here's another area of tension that I often pick up on. If it's decided that the next generation is taking over the tension then becomes if the current generation were to go to market and have some kind of liquidity event.
And now that's my wheelhouse. That's my specialty. You're going to go for maximum value and see what you can do on that enterprise value, just to make sure that you get what you deserved and get what you have worked so hard for over the years. But when the next generation is coming in, there's that tension of, okay how are we going to work this, on the one hand, the current generation I've worked hard all these years.
I've built up the value in the business and I'm now transitioning it to the next generation. What do you recommend in terms of how do you go about doing what the value is like, is it purchased from the next generation? And if it is, are you going for fair market value? Are you doing something else?
Nike Anani:[00:14:39] I think I also really great question. I think the point is it's quite complex in that different generations tend to see wealth very differently. The first-generation are the wealth earners are risk-takers. The next generation tends to be more risk-averse and less assured of their ability to make money and multiply money.
So, it's really important that firstly, we're having collective conversations as to what do we want from our wealth? What is the purpose for our business so to speak? What's the compelling reason for us to stay together as a family in business, or as a family that's selling business? because the sale of the business is usually then the start of a journey for starting a family office.
There's no best practice. I think another factor that I would throw out there for families to think about is non-quantitative factors for a lot of family businesses decisions aren't just made about the daughters and the balance sheets.
There's a lot of qualitative factors that come into play. For instance, there's a lot of stakeholder capitalism, about the role in communities, for instance, reputation is key. And they also have a lot of capital that they bring to the table that for instance, social capital. So, the conversation on valuation should be more holistic, not just from the amount of dollars and cents we're bringing into the family.
Quite often, I've seen instances, where there’s been a sell-down of the business, and the family, has chosen the highest bidder. But in terms of the marriage was a very horrible marriage because it was such a misalignment of values.
So, it really should be thought of as a marriage, are we parting ways, a hundred percent from the business? If so, that might not be as relevant, but it still would be in terms of that needs to be as collective conversation between the two generations. What do we want for this wealth portfolio?
Does mom and dad want to invest in real estate whilst the next generation would invest in impact? And then they're not seeing eye to eye. But in the instance where there's a sell down and you're having an institutional or a different type of investor, there has to be a good marriage of values or vision of mission for it to be a win-win for the family and the counterparty.
Jeffrey Feldberg:[00:16:57] Now speaking of a win-win let's have the same conversation, but it's now with the next generation. So, a different audience. And let’s take the position that the next generation has decided, yes, I'm going to step into the family business. This is what I want to do. This is where I see my future being.
To the next generation what would be some kind of thought or strategy that can be given to this, that's going to minimize tension or infighting, or you hear these horror stories when that takes place. So, what can be done to avoid that so you have as much as you can, a smooth transition?
Nike Anani:[00:17:37] I will say empathy. Develop a lot of empathy for your parents and really try to understand the way they see things. The perspective through which we see life is our reality. And quite often it's a case that we are looking at the same mountain, but from different vantage points with the two generations.
So, it's really important to gain deep empathy for founders. Quite often founders are extremely lonely. Like I said, they have a different life experience. They've created wealth from nothing and they have a deeper assurance in their ability to multiply wealth. So, they're more risk-loving.
Whereas next generation tends to be more risk aversive. Having that at the back of your mind, when you're looking at scenarios helps to create that filter and like a check that we are completely different and we see things completely differently. Another thing I would say is learn to respect and honor all that the founding generation brought to the table.
That's not to say that they're perfect and they can't improve. We all are on a life journey of endless kind of improvement in my viewpoint. No one has arrived. We're all learning. Because our world is always changing and we're always getting better through people we're meeting through our different life experiences and what have you.
Having an appreciation and an honor for what they bring to the table. And lastly, be patient. So, a lot of what's so intuitive to us as next generation. It's so intuitive. We don't realize it because it's so intuitive. Just being so adept with technology. Being so focused on digitalization.
We can be quite impatient with the older generation that are still trying to figure things out. So, quite often we have arrived at the destination in our minds as to what needs to be addressed strategically, but we just ram those ideas down their throats without winning them over and becoming an advocate for our ideas.
Getting them to understand why this is important. Simon Sinek's book Start With Why was a life-changing book for me. When I was going through my personal journey, struggling with winning my father over, I then realized that I'd spent a lot of time just focusing on the what. Dad needs to change this. Dad needs to change that. Just being a critic Seeming like I'm questioning as opposed to asking questions, which is a huge difference.
And if you spend a lot more time focusing on the why is this important? Why do we need to do this? Psychologically and emotionally people open up more towards you. So, I would say if you've decided that you want to be, in this battlefield, in a family business, it's one that requires patience.
It's not a 90-day transformation game. It's, one that requires a lot of patience, but just keeping your eyes fixed on the goal. And what's the goal? We're all in this together to build a legacy enterprise. That will be a source of financial security for the family. Play a critical role in community and also create livelihood for our employees.
If you keep your eye on the goal, that kind of makes a lot of the discomfort, a bit more bearable.
Jeffrey Feldberg:[00:20:58] Some terrific insights and strategies there. Let's take a different stance on this. And then I'd like to go into the whole family office. That's a fascinating world, which we'll get to momentarily, but let me ask you this. And perhaps you've been in a situation. The current generation has now transitioned the business to the next generation.
And for any number of reasons, the next generation has decided the family business is going to be no more and they are thinking about, or have made the decision to have some kind of liquidity event to sell all or part of the business. If the current generation is no longer involved in the business, I suppose that would be very different.
But if they are involved, it may be not a day-to-day, but at least emotionally and sentimentally. How do you address that kind of situation? What kind of advice would you give to that individual who's thinking of bringing the era of the family business to an end, no matter how justified he or she may feel about that decision?
Nike Anani:[00:21:56] I would say it's not necessarily a bad or a good thing if it's to the end of an era. So, as long as it's a collective decision, that's reflective of the hearts and the mind of the family at that point in time. So, I think it's really the purpose of the family business should be very strongly articulated and clear, to all the family members, like I said, what's the compelling reason for us to stay in business together as a family?
That changes over time because the family changes over time and the business changes over time and the industry changes over time. And it might be that actually our collective purpose started off with mum and dad to like, in my instance, put food on the table, just get these kids to school, have some kind of a roof over our head.
And then in the next generation, it's to create transformation in communities. Through philanthropy or impact investing. That evolution is not necessarily a bad thing. We have to evolve in life. If we don't evolve, we die. But so long as this has been really well thought out, and there's been collective conversations as a family, as to what's our vision?
What's our mission? Including all voices. So, now we're not neglecting any generation. We're not neglecting any gender. We're not neglecting. We're really doing this as a family collective deliberating on who we are, what we want, and that will be such a powerful glue for the family. Instead of making a decision outside of consulting other people, and then it might lead to conflict.
If you decide to sell the business there might be extended family members or even family members that are dependent on the business for employment. Even if they would get some kind of liquidity from a sale, they may feel like their purpose has been pulled away from them.
Jeffrey Feldberg:[00:23:45] Some terrific insights. Once again, you are spot on with the advice. So, now let's do a transition to a transition. And let's take the position that the family business has been sold. I know when I was fortunate enough to have my own liquidity event, I never believed it when people said Jeffrey, the easy part was earning the money.
The hard part is to keep it. There's a lot of truth to that. So, I know for business owners and we deal a lot with this in our Deep Wealth Experience with our nine-step roadmap, we walk them through step by step, how you maximize that enterprise value so that when you do have your liquidity event, you have a terrific ending to a story that has its ups.
It has its downs, but you end on a very high note. So, now you have all this money in the bank. Life is different. You're not going into the office every day. Your rituals have changed. It's a very different life that's ahead of you. And for most business owners, this is the unknown. They maybe have thought about it.
But if they're honest with themselves, they've been too busy running the business to really give it much thought. So, what kind of advice for the family business owner who's thinking of having a liquidity event or is going through one right now? What should he or she be thinking about in terms of setting up that family office and life after the business?
Nike Anani:[00:25:02] I love that you brought that up. Money doesn't get rid of all our problems. Does it? Sometimes it's the beginning of our problems. I think as you alluded to is having an exit plan. So, you're selling this business. What will you do now in this new phase of life? We all resist change and change is not necessarily bad, but it's really through re-envision yourself in this new phase of your life.
What do you want to do? Do you want to set up a family office where you'd be very hands-on? Do you want to get involved in some form of philanthropy? Do you want to start a new business? But having full clarity as to what will my day-to-day life looks like? And how has that alignment with my life goals?
And then secondly, you've created this liquidity, but more money, more problems. So, we need to think about even from a tax perspective, you need to have some planners on your side to look at an efficient way of holding this need wealth. Will it be cash in the bank? Will you invest in real estate? When you invest in alternatives, but having an advisor that can articulate what's the best investment strategic plan for you, curated for your specific family in mind would be a really good step. So, getting an advisor on board, financial advisor, or family wealth legacy advisor that can sit down with you and plan out, okay, so how long do you want this wealth to last?
For instance, a client of mine his wealth is to last for a hundred years after his death. And so, everything that's, in terms of planning the family office, the investment strategy, as well as the softer stuff, the family strategy is all in aligned with that long-term goal. And then thinking about what kind of skills do we need to be able to create what it is we want.
For instance, if your advisor says invest in private equity or something, or what have you, what skills do we need to create a family office that can manage that wealth? Are we going to hire people as our dedicated staff? Will we outsource some form of these functions? Will we have a hybrid? Will we have a specifically curated boutique investment manager, family office, single-family office, just for our family? Will we invite other families to join us?
There are many things to be thinking about, but I think the first is gaining clarity on your exit plan. A friend of mine in the industry, Steve Lightless says, you don't just go out and just buy any suit.
You need to make sure that you've been measured and a suit has been made accordingly. And that's really what we need to think about in this instance because if you've seen one family office, you've seen one family office, every family is unique. Every person is unique and we all want different things.
So, it's really important to have advisors by your side.
Jeffrey Feldberg:[00:27:48] Advisors. I couldn't agree more. In the Deep Wealth Experience is actually step number six of our nine-step roadmap is exclusively on advisors. And in our case, we're focusing on the liquidity event because the right advisor or team of advisors are often the difference between a success and failure. And it would be the same thing after the liquidity event.
So, here's the question for you. And I know when I speak to business owners who have exited, I see two different camps. And it's not that one is right, and one is wrong. It's really more of a personal kind of choice in what makes the most sense. But one argument is I'm going to build out my own family office.
I like having that control. The people are going to be working directly for me, and I just feel more in touch and in tune. And I'm just going to go off and do that. The other camp says, whoa, wait a minute. I've never done investments before. I don't really know the first thing about that. I don't want to have it in-house I'm going to go to a professional family office or professional advisor. And that wealth advisor will manage everything for me and point me in the right direction and ensure that I'm protecting my new found wealth and keeping on the up and up when it. comes to growing the wealth and moving things forward.
So, where were you on that side? Does one make more sense than the other in a specific situation? Or how should I be thinking about that?
Nike Anani:[00:29:11] It really depends on your goals. Ideally, you want to have an architect that's with you and drawing out and designing this building to your specification and then getting the right contractors to come to site and to build it to your specification. So, it really depends. I'll just give you a bit of a story. When I moved back, like I said, it wasn't very much planned.
And I moved back and my father had been investing for many years and he had no team. He has no advisors as he had nothing. It was very much organic in the way I set up a family office. We need to set up a one-stop-shop to manage all these investments, firstly, so we first have clarity on what we earn.
Also, we have defined investment management process and what have you. And so, we started off doing a single-family office where I recruited a team, and then we had external advisors that we relied on. But over the years I learned that a lot of the specialists’ skills that were needed in the management of the family office we did not have.
We have a lot of infrastructure investments in our portfolio. Very sophisticated deals that are like project finance with CFIs. But also, we have SMEs in the same portfolio and they require completely different skills. And so, we're now moving towards a new phase in the family office where we're looking to have a hybrid model where there's some assets that we're going to outsource and some that we will manage internally. So, I would say again, just having a conversation with, I almost wished that 10 years ago I was guided by an advisor. I learned a lot by doing. I learned a lot by training myself up, I went for courses on how to stock a family office and what have you.
And again, because on the ground in Africa, the family office industry is very lean. So, we didn't have many professionals that could help. I almost had to really roll up my sleeves and get my hands dirty. But over the years, having gone on this journey, I've built up a network.
Now I know the right people that actually have the expertise to help, even with the African investment landscapes. It's really difficult to give a cookie-cutter answer. If you've seen one family, you've seen one family, I would just say, have someone measure, you have someone measure you and design this amazing suit for you.
Who doesn't want a bespoke suit?
Jeffrey Feldberg:[00:31:30] I love that because whether you're a family business or you're not a family business, whether you're in Africa or in the US the one key thing that you shared, and it's so true, it's this one thing that you need both for a successful liquidity event, but also for a successful family office and is one word.
All you business owners out there. I know you're thinking that your liquidity event is maybe a long way off into the future. It really isn't. Begin now you heard it right here. Begin now. Begin the process of educating yourself of what it takes to manage your wealth, speak to the people who specialize in that and build out your network and begin that process now so that when the big day arrives, you're there. You're ready and not a moment too soon. So, preparation is key for everything.
So, let me ask you this. As you look at all the different topics that we discussed and the advice that you've provided. Generally speaking, are there one or two best practices that you can recommend for a family office, whether it's current generation or next generation, that if someone took away nothing else, other than this what would that be for them in terms of optimizing the success of the business, but also the success of the family, which is directly tied into the business?
Nike Anani:[00:32:49] The word we all hate, governance. An absence of governance, if we think of a nation that has a new government, no Senate it’s just anarchy. And often, when we start off in a very small nation in a village, it's fine. We kind of wing it and just have this chief resident call a lot of the shots.
But when our nation is quickly growing and expanding in size by that, the size of a family, and then the complexity moving from a business, a wealth portfolio, it becomes incredibly important to have governance. And how that takes form in a family business context is the importance of collective conversation where we're able to reflect what's our hearts and our minds with respect to the business and the family and the wealth. And then we start to document that. So, we have a constitution and then committees. We'll have a family council with subcommittees on different matters.
Maybe it's on succession planning, maybe it's on the family office or the philanthropy. And we come up with policies to guide the family with respect to matters that we know may be contentious. Or to have an essence of the heart and mind of the family. And we're able to pass that on from generation to generation. Things that can cause issues is what's the entry criteria for family members to work in the family office. For instance, is it open for any family member just to come in and have a guaranteed job?
Or must they have a specific educational background or work experience? What are the criteria for family members beyond the board, dealing with remuneration or family, if they're active in the family office or in the family business?
A lot of families shy away from governance and even I would admit that I was one of those. I thought it just sounded extremely boring. And I had no interest in being governed in my family governance society, and, social clubs. I don't need more committees. But I think the heaviness of the word takes away from the essence of what it is.
And I like to reframe it as conversations. A framework to have conversations with family on the business, on the wealth and create a decision-making framework for the family. So, we can have this amazing situation where we're able to extract the benefits of the family. As a family, we have very unique perspectives and we have unrivaled advantages compared to non-family.
We're able to make quick decisions. We tend to take into consideration stakeholder capitalism, thinking about other players beyond just shareholders. Employees are key, communities are key, vendors are key, reputation and relationships are key. We're able to make faster decisions. We're more nimble.
We're also able to infuse the essence and the soul of a family into. The Wealth or the business. So, how can we govern and manage a family? We extract all those advantages and marshal them towards the wealth and the investment as opposed to creating a liability and creating all sorts of conflict.
Jeffrey Feldberg:[00:35:51] And for our listeners out there, I hope you're listening because it doesn't get any better. And what you heard was goes back to the old saying what gets measured is what gets done. And whether it's a family business, whether it's for life after the family business, I call them rituals, creating those rituals now. As early as you can, everyone's on the same page, and this way you move forward together, both in business and also as a family on the personal side. Well, said, and well done.
So, as we begin to wrap up the podcast, there's one question that I absolutely love to ask every guest. And the question is this.
If you remember the movie Back to the Future, you had the DeLorean car, which was a terrific car, because it can go anywhere back in time. So, imagine for a moment that you wake up tomorrow and that DeLorean car is sitting outside waiting for you, and you can go back to any point in your life. Maybe it's when you're a young girl or a teenager or a young woman.
What life advice, what wisdom would you be giving your younger self?
Nike Anani:[00:36:55] That's such a powerful question. I think I would go back to when I was a teenager. I was bullied a lot when I was a teen and I internalize a lot of external voices to determine my internal truth. And I would just tell my younger self that don't allow external stories to become your internal story.
You may be vilified in life. People may project the weaknesses onto you. They may outright shame you and abuse you, but that doesn't change who you are. Because your internal stories are the most powerful story you can tell yourself. Stories are so persuasive. Not just stories that other people tell us, but also the stories we tell ourselves. We spend the most time with ourselves up in our minds and just tell your story of how you will try and be a change-maker in your world.
You will try to steward all the benefits that you've gotten from your parents. And build upon all the capital, not just financial, social to make a change in your world. And focus on that story and you'll see it come to reality.
Jeffrey Feldberg:[00:38:04] What great advice. Earlier you referenced that money doesn't buy happiness and it certainly doesn't. And our role, whether we're running a business or we've sold a business, is to optimize for happiness, which is often done through finding fulfilling activities. And I think that is a powerful message to take out there.
I'm going to put this in the show notes and for our listeners, where can they find you if they want to learn more or have some conversations with you, what's the best place to reach you online?
Nike Anani:[00:38:30] My website www.nikeanani.com. That's nikeanani.com. You find lots of resources on there. My contact details are on there as well. My social media, my podcasts as well is on there.
Jeffrey Feldberg:[00:38:47] Terrific. As always, a tremendous and heartfelt thank you for taking time out of your day with us Nike to share your wisdom with our community. And as we begin to wrap this up, I'd like to wish you a wonderful day and please stay healthy and safe.
Nike Anani:[00:39:02] Thank you so much. It's been an honor.