Owning and running a business is not for the faint-hearted. There are sacrifices to be made. Some obvious and some less so. It suits individuals who are a little bit mad, don’t like being told what to do, are ambitious, driven and control freaks – to begin with at least.
No-one can do “it” better
Or so you think. When you are building a business from scratch, you are either on your own or working with a small team of fellow Partners. At some point though, you are going to have to make your first hire. Pity the poor soul who is the first to join as an employee because the level of scrutiny they will be subjected to will likely be intense. Owners of small organically grown businesses are far more likely to “micro manage” than most and it takes a long while to appreciate that actually, someone can do “it” as well or even better, just maybe not in the same way!
It is a common misconception that the Boss earns the most in the company or is financially secure. Quite often the Boss earns less than the other Executives because he/she is taking the hit on their salary in the hope they can cash out at a later date. If you are asked to visit your boss’s house, don’t be surprised to see peeling wall paper and carpets that resemble something from the 1930’s. You see, they might say they are re-investing everything into the business and many do. Not all, but many!
Start getting used to the sleepless nights. Gone is the uninterrupted sleep of yesteryear, to be replaced by an overactive mind analysing anything and everything that you should be thinking about in the office. Once the business owner has become an old hand, he/she will realise the futility of endless tossing and turning and get up to make a cup of tea and do some work to put his/her thoughts on paper and in turn rid the restless mind of its unwanted interlopers. Only then is sleep possible again. Business owners rarely get away from their business completely, even on holiday. Sadly, downtime will continue to become an even rarer commodity because of the competitive landscape we work in.
You make a difference
Having highlighted some of the less attractive parts of running your own business, now for a very attractive one! Freedom. Freedom to make decisions – some good and some bad, freedom to take time off when you want to, freedom to work the hours you desire, the freedom of not being told what to do and the pleasure of creating something out of nothing, making your indelible mark on the commercial landscape. Responsibility too – the responsibility and happiness that is gained from providing others with a well-paid job and a great company culture which means people are excited when they come to work every day. Never under-estimate the importance of “making a difference” to the business owner – quite often it is the biggest motivator, regardless of whether it was at the outset.
You create the market
For those company owners operating in a certain space, the ability to re-create or shape a market is one of the most rewarding aspects of the job. It takes creativity and foresight, but if you are able to find a way of doing more efficiently or more cost effectively than your predecessors, then great. The only thing is – it is a bit like tinkering with an apple crumble. Only recreate something if the result is going to be better than the original!
About the author: David Morel is the CEO/Founder of Tiger Recruitment, one of London’s leading secretarial/administrative recruitment agencies.