Swapping Business Ideas Across Generations

by Mike Semanco

As a former business owner and now division manager of a global finance company, I have certainly seen many business opportunities and challenges spanning my 27 years in banking and finance.  I have had the opportunity to work with some great mentors and managers and have developed a small group of business friends who I turn to as my personal board of advisors.

Over the years while running a startup company, I was immersed in every area of the business.  The time owners spend on running their “baby” often distracts from the babies they have at home, their kids.  The long hours and stressful nights took away the energy needed for their family.  It was a sacrifice, and one most entrepreneurs would love to manage differently if they could.

Across GenerationsFast forward many years after these “babies” are now adults and forging their roads in life.  I knew my kids did not see the intrigue with business lending and never thought they would follow in my footsteps and enter the world of banking.  Although it would have certainly been exciting to have one of them work alongside me in the business, encouraging them to create their journey was equally as important and exciting. What I did not know is that they would quietly absorb the business conversations at the dinner table while growing up and soak it all in as they pursued their journey.

This last year was certainly a year of change and it was truly eye opening in many areas.  What was once a one-sided dinner conversation of Dad talking and kids barely listening, has taken quite the turn.  Dinner conversations with my daughter are now about how to manage expenses for her online jewelry business and website development that her brother helped her create.  My oldest son and I trade daily conversations on what it’s like to work for a successful entrepreneur who wears all hats and is pulled in many different directions.  Advice on “managing up”, taking on more work to alleviate some stress from his boss, and having those late-night calls to be a sounding board are experiences he has and that I went through myself.  It also includes ideas on his side business and the website he developed.  At the same time, my kids all have skill sets which are much different than mine.  I enjoy hearing about what they post online, how they market their businesses, and companies and leaders they follow and learn from.

The days of longing for my kids to work alongside me in my business have shifted.  I now long for the day I can be working alongside them in THEIR business(s). This year has given me time to reflect on these new dinner conversations and how grateful I am to be the listener and occasionally, toss in some experiences which can help them along the way.  I’m looking forward to my consulting side project and one day making their personal board of advisors.


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About the Author

Mike Semanco serves as President and Chief Operating Officer for Hitachi Business Finance. He has over 20 years of experience in the financial service industry. His career spans a variety of lending institutions, beginning with banks and credit unions to becoming a partner in launching Hennessey Capital in 2002 (which is now Hitachi Business Finance).
He can be reached at msemanco@hitachibusinessfinance.com or (248) 658-3201.
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