Entrepreneurship versus climbing the corporate ladder.
Starting your own business versus helping someone else flourish theirs (while being a benefactor yourself.)
Making most of the opportunity you have versus creating the opportunity you desire.
Going with the steady flow versus risking all of your resources in hopes of building much more.
These are some of the many titles one might give to the constant battle of words between the two schools of thought. We are not here to influence or judge your choice between the two but to help clear the air for you a bit. In this edition, we draw out some of the risks and reasons behind the decision of is it worth it to start a business?
Reasons Why It’s Worth Starting Your Own Business?
The famous management consultant Peter Drucker said that “An entrepreneur always searches for change, responds to it and exploits it as an opportunity.” If you see yourself falling into the category, then business is just the thing for you.
1. Financial Independence
Whether it is a fresh graduate or a worked up aspiring billionaire, we all wish for just some more financial independence. To be at the liberty to spend as we wish. Now even though personal opinions may differ, statistically the chances of entering the -naires race (millionaire, billionaire etc.) are much higher if you start your own business. Even the most handsome of paychecks can’t compare because obviously the pockets providing those paychecks have to be bigger than the ones receiving them. Sure, the risks involved are huge but you know what they say about the risk, to win big you have to take big risks.
2. Being Your Own Boss
One of the most undesirable things of even the most well-loved jobs can be the fact that you have a not so nice boss. Owning a business makes you your own boss. Now that may come with added responsibility and pressure but at the end of the day, you know that you’ll be the biggest benefactor from the tireless hard work. The freedom to not answer to anyone removes any doubt about whether it is worth it to start a business.
You can have a flexible time table, the liberty to plan a vacation without consulting with the higher-ups, deciding the hierarchy of your company and calling the shots with almost everything. Perks of laying the cornerstone of your company is also the fact that you get to design your own code of conduct and build a corporate culture as you see fit, some like it professional and stringent while others may prefer a homely and relaxed culture.
3. Pursuing a Passion
Michael Jordan famously said, “If you can’t stop thinking about it, don’t stop working for it”. Your business is the emblem of your passion. Your means of self-expression. Creating products or providing services that you are passionate about and putting it out in the world for the benefit of others is an opportunity that entrepreneurship provides. Business is never just about creating money. It’s about customer service and risk and teamwork and passion evolution. It is also about convincing the world to look at a product from your eyes. Nothing speaks louder than passion folks. So, if you think you are passionate about something, then share it with the world, start a business, build a company out of it.
4. Creativity and Innovation
While at a job you have to work around a given set of instructions. You are expected to assist the boss in running his company the way he thinks fit. Spending a few years in corporate life makes us question that is it worth it to start a business? Will it be worth it? Owning your own business provides you with the freedom of creating things, the liberty to innovate strategies and products that others haven’t thought of.
Out of the box thinking, and looking at the bigger picture, the future prospect are the core values of any business. Steve Jobs once said that “Innovation is what distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” Be the leader of your own business, be the captain of your own ship. But do remember to pave the way for others to follow. Don’t rise with the speed of an Icarus, only to burn your own wings. But at the same time don’t be afraid to fly either. Business, like life, is all a game of balance.
I recently met someone who said that ragging in colleges is a good thing. Now be attentive that I say ragging (the one-time thing that occurs at the beginning of the school year) and not bullying. Ragging helps one build networks and so does business. The founder and CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos said: “there’s no use hanging out with people who are not resourceful.” Now, this doesn’t mean that you stop hanging out with the less well-connected friends of yours but the point is that being in the business helps you build networks, connecting you to local and international people. The world of entrepreneurs survives on the idea of symbiosis – mutual benefits and mutual gains. You help them out in return for them helping you out at a later date. Man is a social animal who has to have people to fall back on in times of crisis and ethical business is all about that.
Reasons Why It’s Not Worth Starting Your Own Business?
1. Too Much at Stake
Risk is the price you pay for an opportunity but not everyone is ready for that kind of risk. Having your own start-up is one of the biggest risks one might take in their lifetime and the thought alone is ready to scare the daylight out of anyone. To add to the anxiety and pressure that comes with it is the fact that in case of a fall out you won’t be the only one being affected. Your allies, your investors, your spouse, even your children will all be in the storm facing the consequences of a choice you made.
2. Need for Constant Evolution
Business is a constant call for beneficial change, to keep up with the trends and evolve. Without change even the most successful of business empires can run to the ground and history is filled with such examples, we all know the story of what happened to Nokia when it refused to evolve with time. With change comes the added wind of uncertainty. The unpredictability of how will the customers and the market respond to a certain change that the company might invest in and introduce can be nerve-wracking. So before you step into the world of entrepreneurs, ask yourself are you willing to change and bend with time as it requires?
3. Failure Takes a Toll
Failures are as much a part of entrepreneurship as they are of life. Even the most successful of companies go through setbacks and that may be alright and tolerable for some but for many that kind of loss takes a toll. Apart from the monetary impoverishment, the judgement that you face is overwhelming. When you start up the business and gather customers and build a following you by default give them the right to scrutinize every move of yours. You’ve put your idea out there and it’s open to public opinion.
4. Literally Requires Blood and Sweat
Commitment, tireless hours, sacrifices and surplus amount of patience. Like a child of your own, your business requires you to make numerous big and small sacrifices along the way especially in the beginning. There will always be people who will tell you a million reasons why it is a terrible idea but it would take an extraordinary amount of courage and commitment to your dream in order to make it a reality. Modern history of entrepreneurship is filled with examples which highlight these core values:
- Patience: Jeff Bezos – founder of Amazon, founded his company in the 1990s but it wasn’t until 2014 that it started to become profitable. Not everyone has the courage to keep believing that one day the tables will turn in your favor.
- Tireless hours of work: In the initial years of Microsoft, there were days when the employees including Bill Gates himself and his then co-worker and now wife, Malinda had only Tang powder for lunch. They need to keep your glucose levels in check if you want your body to cooperate with you even when you are pushing it over the limits.
5. A Lot to Think About
Kickstarting your company is only the first step of a long journey. Once you reach the target you have to work harder and harder each day just to maintain whatever you have achieved. Also, your decisions and actions are no longer your own, one bad decision is like a domino effect. You are not the only one you have to think about. Your family, your company, your partners and most importantly your dozens or hundreds of employees depend on you making the right decisions. That’s really a lot of pressure to take on. Your company is like your own child, everything you do or even say will have an effect on it. Your beliefs and vision are what created that company and that is what will keep it going. Being in business is most of the time like talking on eggshells. A careful, cautious and hopefully never-ending journey which may or may not be worth it in the end.
So, at the end of the day, is it worth it to start a business? Simon Sinek, one of the most inspirational speakers and leading consultant has authored a book called Find your Why. (Also check out: The Best Simon Sinek Books for Business Leaders).This book answers the question that we’re dealing with here. Look for the reason behind your decision to start a business. If your ‘why’ is strong enough to sustain the hardships that come with setting up a new venture then go for it. If not, then the corporate life is a viable career choice.