KATHMANDU: A father and daughter working partnership can be one of the best in the business. Just ask Prerana Rajya Laxmi Rana, who joined her father’s business soon after completing her school leaving certificate (SLC) exams at 16. Now she is the managing director of the company — Sigma Interiors, located at Naxal. Reminiscing her initial days of working with her father, Rana says, “I wanted to utilise my free time after SLC and since my father had a call centre back then, I used to work there during the day. Working with him gave me a chance to learn faster and effectively in a familiar environment.”
Rana believes that joining one’s father in business means there is always someone to provide advice and support. “My father is highly supportive, co-operative and always there for me,” she says with a smile. “I believe being involved in my father’s business has made me more responsible and a hard worker. I also get to know him professionally and help him solve problems on a day-to-day basis,” opines Rana.
Anjana Shilpakar, manager of Woodcarving Industries Pvt Ltd, also started her career as a store cashier in her father’s business. She says, “I started to work at my father’s workshop right after my SLC and have since then been gathering experience and skills from him.” Shilpakar — the eldest daughter of the family — feels more responsible towards her family and credits her success to her supportive father and family.
“I’ve never felt any kind of bias while handling my father’s business. Rather, everyone’s support encouraged me to work sincerely, ” she maintains.
There are many advantages of a father-daughter working duo. Not only does one get the freedom to be creative in a friendly environment, but one enjoys flexible working hours and control over projects. A built-in trust factor is also a plus point in this partnership where hands-on training and early exposure to the business results in quality driven and trustworthy company with succession.
Both Rana and Shilpakar state that being part of their father’s business has strengthened the bond between them and their fathers — even after marriage. However, father-daughter partnerships also face a unique set of challenges. Handling the business comes with enormous responsibility since family pride is attached with the profession and family businesses can get bad press when it comes to succession issues, identity development and relationships.
Often business relationships between parent and child deteriorate due to an underlying difficulty within the family. This behaviour erupts into criticism, judgments, conservatism, lack of support, and lack of trust — all elements that affect the business. In terms of conflicts and clashes, Shilpakar says, “We discuss ideas and probable consequences and stick with what is beneficial for the company.” She
further adds, “There is no substitute for the level of trust, loyalty, and commitment that you can get from a family member than from any employee, especially since family members are much more willing to go above and beyond to help a family business succeed.”