Martin Urrutia
Co-CEO
Auronix
/
Expert Contributor

Tips to Transform a Family Business Into a Scalable Company

By Martin Urrutia | Mon, 12/06/2021 - 16:55

Transforming a family business into a scalable company is not an easy process, as these companies often lack access to the talent, capital and know-how to do so. According to a PwC survey, nine out of 10 companies in Mexico are operated by families; they are an essential cornerstone of the national economy. The growth of these businesses is critical to inject the dynamism that our country needs today, especially after the pandemic.

I come from a family that has been running a textile business for over 100 years, giving me first-hand insight into how a family business is run. Moreover, over the past two years, I’ve been Co-CEO at Auronix, a family business in the enterprise messaging space that my business partner and I acquired with the backing of 40-plus investors. Over these two years, we have focused on transforming Auronix from a family business into a scalable tech company with world-class talent and the ability to expand internationally.

Auronix provides proprietary enterprise messaging solutions that allow companies to engage their customers on the most popular and innovative messaging channels (WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Apple Messages, etc.). Using our solutions, companies are able to automate key business processes, increase sales, reduce costs and improve customer experience.

How did we do it? First, we focused on building a great team, starting with putting in place a world-class leadership team. We promoted experienced team members, who knew our industry and culture, and hired external executives, who brought talent, experience and know-how. We empowered our leadership team to build their own teams, define new processes and implement technology that would help us automate and make us more scalable. Moreover, we built a culture based on our values that would allow us to attract, inspire and retain the best talent. By building a solid team, Auronix has been able to pivot and pursue a new strategy, build new and better products, and create long-term relationships with customers that will fuel long-term growth.

Second, we defined a clear strategy focused on long-term value creation. When we acquired Auronix, it was focused on selling SMS messages; however, we noticed that our customers had a strong need for omnichannel customer engagement solutions, such as chatbots, to automate their operations and improve customer experience. These solutions were not only more profitable, but would allow us to provide more value to our customers and create long-term relationships. Therefore, we defined a new strategy, which included a clear vision of where we wanted to go, where we planned to compete (what products, industries and segments), how we were going to win and the capabilities we needed to build to achieve all this. The strategy was openly communicated to the entire organization, including clear and measurable objectives that cascaded down to every member of the team. This gave every member of the team clarity on where Auronix was going and how their work would help achieve our objectives, creating a solid organizational alignment that has allowed us to rapidly gain traction with our new strategy.

Third, we focused on building strong relationships with key stakeholders for Auronix’s success, including vendors, partners, customers, investors and our Board of Directors. To earn their trust and form great working relationships, we’ve always sought to understand their needs and objectives, while always communicating with them regularly and transparently about our objectives, plans and challenges. For example, companies like WhatsApp, Apple, Google and Telcel are critical for our business, as we need to be authorized partners to sell solutions built on top of their messaging channels. By understanding their objectives, sharing our vision and building mutual trust, we have become the only Mexican company (and one of the few globally) to become an official partner of all the major messaging companies, which has allowed us to offer full omnichannel solutions to our customers.

Finally, in an ever-changing world, it’s important to be an agile, yet resilient, leader; one who can rapidly make informed decisions to adapt to a new business environment, but resilient in leading the organization through times of change or uncertainty. The pandemic showed us that the world can change overnight; however, a crisis also generates opportunities. At Auronix, our customers were forced to find new ways to engage customers and employees remotely, generating an opportunity for us to create solutions for enterprises to sell, transact and provide customer support through messaging channels. This required rapidly creating new solutions and business models solutions that have allowed us to strengthen our value proposition for the future.

The future is bright for family businesses in Mexico: 74 percent of them expect to have significant growth by 2022, according to PwC. To become more scalable and sustain growth, these businesses can greatly benefit from building world-class teams, defining and communicating clear strategies, building strong relationships with their key stakeholders and having agile and resilient leaders to navigate challenging times.

Photo by:   Martin Urrutia