One of the major reasons why entrepreneurs decide to start their own business is the freedom that this lifestyle offers. They want to take their own decisions and are prepared to take the consequences.
Entrepreneurs are, by nature, risk takers and know it may culminate into serious or negative results, but they always see the positive and remain forever optimistic. If the decision was the right one, the benefits and results offer a great deal of personal satisfaction and a wonderful sense of achievement.
If entrepreneurs only realised the extent of the risks that they take on a daily basis, they would probably not take these decisions, or be much more cautious and research the matter to a larger extent before making the call. But, a call needs to be made. Unlike in the corporate environment where a team, commission and task groups of specialist in disciplines debate a solution, running your own business means making decisions by yourself. It may be tough, but it is also great, exciting and satisfying. You make the decisions; the buck stops with you. No reporting. No writing of motivations. Complete freedom to do what your gut tells you.
However, the freedom also comes with responsibility. The decisions taken will influence the position or situation not only for yourself but also others around you. You have to understand how your decisions will affect you, your business, your staff, your clients and your community at large.
Entrepreneurs are free to make decisions but are they really free? Not really. You may not have to report to a line manager, but you have other bosses. The most important boss in the life of an entrepreneur is his or her customer. They dictate. If you do not satisfy their needs, you have no business. So they are your bosses. They call the shots. They have options. They have the money in their pockets and as they say, “a customer is the king”. Other bosses are the Government (think of SARS as an example or the laws you need to abide by), your family responsibilities and those who work for you. Your suppliers are also bosses.
Yes, entrepreneurs are the master of their own destiny. They make the decisions. They have the freedom to do what they want and when. But it comes with a great level of responsibility and like all things in life, freedom comes at a price.
Jean Claude Mutajogire is the Country Manager of Business Partners Limited, a specialist risk finance company for formal small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Rwanda and selected African countries.