Small business owners are a rare breed. They are willing to invest their own thoughts, labor, equity, expertise, and all of their hopes, dreams, and aspirations into a business without any guarantee of success. In return, they anticipate that the business will succeed and provide back to them the satisfacation and rewards they seek. However, what the entrepreneur seeks is worth truly analyzing as it will determine many of the strategies and decisions made by tht business owner.
For some business owners the business performs a function that is less to do about employment for monetary gain, and more to do with the sense of fulfillment or emotional health benefits received as a result of owning the business. That may be in part related to:
Social - for some people, having others relying on them to perform their roles or job tasks is sufficient. For others, it is important that they feel part of a team as opposed to an individual contributor and they enjoy the community aspects of the work environment. For still others, it is about the shared accomplishment in completing a project creatively with others.
Self Esteem -in some instances, the entrepreneur enjoys the feeling of owning a business him or herself and having their name on the door or shingle (or invoices). It elevates their own self perceptions of what it means to be a success and fuels their desire to perform at a higher level.
Sense of Purpose – owning a business is a daunting task and for some the challenge of doing so well is motivational and a rewarding. Knowing that “the business needs me” is very fulfilling and provides those entrepreneurs with a mission and reason for them to go to work.
The emotional aspects of owning a business can be overwhelming for some people, and for others, it is a positive that energizes them, fuels them to seek improvements, and provides them with reasons to go to work each day or night. The business in that sense provides a healthful outlet for the entrepreneur.
Another common reason given for why people choose to start their own businesses is related to the upside potential available to them monetarily. A business owner is not constrained by salary plans, union agreements, contractual limits, etc. and are not capped in terms of their earnings. Of course, that also means that they do not have a guarantee of income either. The business owner assesses the likelihood of a product or service being well received by a segment of the purchasing public and attempts to opportunistically fulfill that need before others do, better than others currently do, or create a need that the market was unaware it had and then seek to meet it and capture the entire market for him or herself (think IPOD or E-book readers).
Of course, there is also the downside of what a business represents for some entrepreneurs and it must be assessed or evaluated to ensure it does not create conflict for the business owner or the business owner’s loved ones:
- has the business become a burden or negatively impacted the entrepreneur’s emotional state (often surly or moody)?
- does the business require so much time that it encroaches upon leisure time, family commitments, or what was once thoughy of as non-work time?
- Is the business owner able to differentiate between “on the clock” time and “home life?” Very often, due to technology and wireless communications, entrepreneurs struggle with staying away from emails, text messages, or other remotely delivered communications and so there is no delineation between being at work and being away from work.
When strategically assessing whether to go into business for oneself, or even analyzing if the business is being used as a resource to deliver on one’s life’s goals, it is helpful to think in terms of whether what one seeks is a nurse, a purse, or if the business has become something worse.