What Is the Role of the Founder in an Entrepreneurial Business?
Who wants to be an entrepreneur? Who can be an entrepreneur? There are more than 582 million people in this world in the process of starting or running their own business according to the latest Global Entrepreneurship Monitor that surveyed 65 different economies worldwide. The number of people who dream about being an entrepreneur is many times higher.
Many people want to be their own boss or pursue their dream of what a business could be. They may have an idea and want to make it into reality. Technology and the Internet has made it possible for anyone to start a business. But, entrepreneurship is much more than that. The reality is that starting an entrepreneurial business is much easier than than dealing with the challenges in making the business sustainable.
Businesses of every size require the same things:
Customers must be persuaded to buy goods or services.
Potential customers must learn about what the business has to offer through marketing and communication.
The goods or services must be delivered in a satisfactory way to the customers.
Any problems or customer dissatisfaction must be handled promptly and
Financial records must be maintained, and customers must be billed for the goods and services which they purchased.
Goods or services that are required to produce those being sold by the business must be purchased economically to enable the business to make a profit.
The performance of employees must be managed and problems dealt with promptly and positively.
New employees must be recruited and trained as the business grows.
Effective processes and procedures must be developed so that the business functions consistently and efficiently.
New ideas must evolve as the market changes or when new opportunities present themselves.
Whether the entrepreneur sells the latest technology or mangoes in a street market, some version of these things must happen. No one person can effectively perform all of these things well.
Maybe they can sell anything, but keeping track of financial details is hard.
Maybe they are brilliant in the application of new technologies, creating amazing products, but they cannot manage other people.
Maybe they have a well-organized business with great products, but they are uncomfortable meeting new people.
In each of these cases, key parts of a successful entrepreneur are there, but something else is missing. The challenge is that entrepreneurs are usually so busy working to make their business survive that it is hard to see what the real problem is. These kind of shortcomings are explained away as “not having enough time” or “other things are more important right now”. Larger companies bring in consultants to help them with such problems, but that is usually too expensive for small entrepreneurs. Advice from their friends and family is not always helpful. There are online tools that enable entrepreneurs to inventory their hard-wired personality strengths and abilities to see what is the best role for them and what else is needed for the business to prosper. Recognizing the weak areas enables the entrepreneur to put a plan in place for strengthening that area with an additional employee, outsourcing that function or with additional training for themselves. Whether you favor the advice of Socrates, “Know thyself.” or that of Dirty Harry Callahan, “A man has got to know his limitations.”, both sets of knowledge are essential for the entrepreneur.