Business Coach Column by Ruben Anlacan, Jr. (President, BusinessCoach, Inc.) from the Manila Bulletin
You might be thinking which is better—to be an employee or an employer? There is a vast difference between the two, especially on how they make money.
We cannot answer this question for you. There are people who would be better off if they become employees, but there are also those who are suitable to be employers. There are pros and cons. One should evaluate oneself first when choosing between these two options.
Being an employer gives you an opportunity to earn more money. It also allows you to make decisions for yourself. When you are an employer, you do not take any orders from anybody. You are your own boss. However, to succeed as one, you have to work harder. Indeed, you have to spend long hours at work, especially during start-up. You will trade time for money. In addition, you have to tolerate weeks or even months without earnings while establishing your business.
When you are the business owner, it is your prerogative to choose the people who you would like to work with. Nobody can fire you. Besides, you do not have to please everybody. You have the complete freedom and control over your business.
However, having your own business is not a guarantee that you will succeed. There are certain risks that cannot be predicted. Factors like technological obsolescence, economic turbulence, currency fluctuations, and even weather conditions are among the unseen risks that cannot be fully anticipated. However, if you succeed, having your own business will provide you a lifestyle that is truly rewarding.
Starting a business means going into a very tough struggle with other businesses just like yours. Remember that they are also planning against you! You have to think of competitor reactions. This is your responsibility, as well as your accountability to your employees who are relying on you for their livelihood.
On the other hand, if you would want to be an employee, you get the advantage of having fixed working hours. However, you also get fixed income! Since you have a boss, you have to report to her/him, and must always follow the company policies.
Being an employee, you only work on a required skill or competency expected from you. Unless you work as a supervisor or manager, you do not handle people. The primary objective you strive for on being an employee is the competition for promotion.
Nevertheless, if you exert all your efforts in excelling at your position, there is a great chance that you will be noticed. Getting up the career ladder will provide you a better salary, or more benefits.
Another risk of being an employee is that of getting fired or not promoted due to office politics. How many of us have experienced the frustration of seeing a less qualified colleague – who is on better terms with your boss – promoted? Worse, you sometimes get blamed for something which is not your fault while others grab the credit that should be yours.
You work on the pleasure of your superiors even if in theory your rating is based on your performance. If you commit a blunder, there is high chance of suspension, or perhaps termination!
It is only you who can best decide whether to be an employer or an employee. Think several times, because although there are more advantages in choosing to be an employer, there are also certain qualities, besides having capital, needed to succeed. Running your own business is not as easy as you think. It involves many risks, and entails a lot of sacrifices.
If you are currently employed and would want to start a business, here are some strategies to help you make the shift.
• Do a self-assessment. Evaluate your strengths and weaknesses. Be honest to yourself and determine if you really have the burning desire and capability to be an entrepreneur. If so, analyze what you can do best in order to decide on the best business option for you.
• Learn how to start and operate the business properly. Attend seminars or get a business coach to learn the operations and management of the business you wish to enter. Know the legal requirements, capital needed, best location, suppliers, pricing, and other essential knowledge before you invest your hard earned money.
• Make a business plan. From this, you could make a better judgement on the feasibility of your planned venture. Make an outline of your goals, expected expenses, marketing approach, and exit strategy.
• Save twice the amount you think will be needed. Almost certainly there will be unexpected expenses; you will be needing some safety cushion to finance your operations while waiting for your sales to pick up.
• Try to retain your job. If it is possible to do business while retaining your job, then do it. Despite all your efforts there will always be the possibility of failure especially if you are just starting. Having a job is a wise insurance.
Despite all the praises in favor of entrepreneurship it is not for everybody. Not everyone can be successful businessmen nor is it certain that an entrepreneur can be a great corporate executive. It is also not true that having your own business is the only path to financial security since a corporate career may also make you millions. It is not only a matter of what you want to be but also on a frank and thorough appraisal of your capabilities.
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