Weekly Thought – June 27, 2017
Fred studied business from an organizational viewpoint, focusing on principles. In counseling college students he discussed different types of business models, helping them to set their career course. This Weekly Thought shares his ideas on entrepreneurship.
Very few people can operate their own business, especially from scratch. I have great respect for those few who have taken a very small business and developed it into a sizeable organization.
Research shows less than 5% can be successfully self-employed. The early failures are usually attributed to undercapitalization. I think a better reason is “pilot error.” After all, why was the business started with inadequate funding? Usually wishful thinking and poor planning – what I call pilot error.
When I left a large corporation to form my own company I had planned and saved for 14 years. However, I found two very difficult problems facing me:
1) I was required to wear all the different hats necessary to get the total job completed. As a corporate officer I had a general knowledge of the entire operation, but had specialists to call on. In my own business I had to learn to do things I had formerly delegated. This changed my management style.
2) The second change was psychological. I was now using my own money whereas as a VP of a national corporation I was using (and diligently managing) their capital. Money became very personal. This is a shift many cannot make who have tried to move from corporate to self-owned. Many executives cannot accept this anxiety. They can invest corporate funds, but not their own. This results in nervousness and missed timing.
Often corporate executives say they want to be in business for themselves so they become their own boss. Poor reason. In fact, the customer is the boss of us all and we should never forget that.
I made several misjudgments early, but the biggest surprise was my lack of control of my time. The freedom I thought I would have as owner evaporates – the responsibilities for the business control your time. You can’t run a business like a hobby – particularly in the early years. It is a tyrant.
Naturally, there are some great advantages: you can accumulate more equity; you can design policies according to your philosophical bent; you make decisions without being questioned or sanctioned.
If you want to be in your own business, I suggest you start extremely small, and grow as you become properly capitalized and experienced. Keep your ego in check and don’t try to become too big too fast. I have seen it ruin many capable people.
If you have trouble making yourself work, stay out of your own business. A corporate friend asked me: “You own a business and a boat, how do you make yourself go to work?” It never dawned on me because business is the means by which I express my talent, not boating.
Think about: 1) How did I decide which form of business to enter? 2) Where do I express my gifts? 3) What is my dream job?
Words of Wisdom: “Business is where I express my gifts, not boating.”
Wisdom from the Word: “Warn them of the statutes and the laws, and make known to them the way in which they must walk and the work they must do.” (Exodus 18:20 NET Bible)