Everyone knows that it requires long hours, passion, commitment and determination to run a business, especially in the first few years. So, why do so many Canadians choose to operate their own business? In my ten years working with small business owners I have found that there are five reasons someone would pursue entrepreneurship.
1. Independence: The freedom that comes with operating a business can lure many people. You don’t need to convince your boss – you are the boss. You make the products you believe in and you can offer the services your clients want. You can access your creativity and energy to build something that inspires you and provided a high level of satisfaction.
2. Solutions: Every business owner is a problem solver. You have a solution to a problem that others don’t. Whether the solution relates to the environment, communications, food or services, you know that your solution can used by all and be a driving factor in improving the world.
3. Lifestyle: Entrepreneurs ultimately decide on their work schedule As an entrepreneur, you get to create how you want to run your business and how you want to live. If driving your kids to school is a priority, your day starts after the bell. If you enjoy working out at noon, you know when to book off for lunch. Some entrepreneurs are so committed to the lifestyle, that they have developed new business models to accommodate those priorities.
4. External Circumstances: Perhaps one of the most practical reasons to be an entrepreneur is also one of the most dangerous. I have worked with many entrepreneurs who are launching a business because they have been downsized. Now, don’t get me wrong, I believe in the human spirit and that we can achieve almost anything, but someone who sees running a business as a career option is usually setting themselves up for a very difficult journey. The path of the entrepreneur is not the same as the path of a career employee.
5. Ego: Have you ever spoken to an entrepreneur who sums up their reason for starting their own business as, “I can do it better than my boss.”? This reason, in my opinion, is almost as dangerous as number 4. Competition and ego can only take a business idea so far. And the sad truth is, those former difficult bosses will probably never know you went into business to spite them.
Entrepreneurship is tough. It is filled with great accomplishments and bitter disappointments. It can be a tremendous source of satisfaction and a pit of frustration. Engaging in entrepreneurship for the right reasons should be encouraged. Engaging in entrepreneurship for the wrong reasons should be avoided.