Sunday, May 1, 2011
Move over entrepreneur;hello C.E.O
Interesting things happen in life. I guess that is why it is sacred. Dreams and ideas coming to life, and there the magical transformation of just a thought or dream into something real must indeed be magical. Yet that is what life is, magical, and those who don’t take the time to enjoy the journey realize that life just like a journey the beauty lies in the experience, the buildup. There is quite no definite end.
In a world where there are no defined roles, the world of entrepreneurship, you are everything and anything. You pay the bills, (lining up in the bank, for both Accounts, the business and your personal Savings Account).You make the sales, you grow the ideas, you ward of creditors, and you take out the trash. At this stage, you also tend to lose a bit of weight and sometimes have toned muscles (due to heavy lifting I suspect.Tables and shelves do that to you)
Other than well established entrepreneurs whose creation of new businesses is never the same as when you craft your own small business, the small- time, first time entrepreneurs tend to start out alone or with a fairly small number of people. It s this multi tasking that makes them succeed and quite at home in a structure free business world. Sometimes, there is talent attached to the entrepreneur. Sometimes it’s just what we call business acumen. Seeing things in a particular way (a lot of times not very popular with other people). This state of mind, or mentality and the attached talent (if any) is what makes you tick. It also gives you confidence to chase a dream.
Several years later,(sometimes decades) you are joined by employees, people designed to man(or woman, if you like) particular and specific jobs and pieces of work within the company. An Accountant here, a driver there. A cook somewhere. The all rounder is not entertained at this level, you will be competing with the boss, and a rebellious and stubborn streak tends to follow such people.(I suspect again that is why they are entrepreneurs in the first place.)
As employees become more, and more specific job descriptions are written and enforced, ironically the person who started it all is also boxed in. Most times you become C.E.O or MD, with specific roles. It will most probably amount to a scandal if you are found enforcing discipline to guests, including those who visit mostly at night through the back door(sometimes also called thieves) .That is the duty of the guard or the watch man. He may sue you for interference and rendering him redundant.
Manners and some decency finally have to be learned such as the ability as to speak well and dress properly. There are conferences to attend and briefs to make. You must do all these well. For someone who loves freedom and hence left employment to attain it, it’s then disturbing that institutions take on the very shape you had escaped. The only consolation is that this time you are at the top. Some people fail to make the transformation. I don’t think I ever will fit in properly myself. The roles are so different. But necessity dictates so. The more stubborn ones stay clear and appoint a Chief Executive Officer who fits the role so they can continue to act out of structures themselves. Coming to work when they feel like, or working through the night and experimenting with new ideas. The others conform and wear the suits, and learn the ropes of corporate governance.
You realize after that long period that success pushes more work towards you, including learning new things faster every day. You then hire people to do what only you were able to do, and a lot of times you are left with nothing visible to do,(having assigned all the work to professionals)
My experience tells me, that if you have not honed people skills for all this while, kindly create the structures and let someone take over the day to day management of your business, because if you are not honest with your own appraisal, you then become a liability to a business whose success you have sacrificed a lot for. Know when to move over. A lot of times to start something new yet again.