While being an entrepreneur may sound enticing and easy, that hardly is the case. Most entrepreneurs fail and for the ones who succeed, it takes years to start breaking even. It is a high-stress occupation involving many risks. However, it’s possible to improve your odds of succeeding.
According to a recent study, entrepreneurs who stayed at their day jobs failed 33% less often. These entrepreneurs are more patient and more adept at finding the best business models. They also have enough saved up not to be worried about paying the bills.
Still not convinced that you should work as an employee first? Take a look at four reasons why entrepreneurs should work for someone else first:
1. Understand how to manage a business
A great idea isn’t enough to successfully set up, run and scale a business. When you work for someone else, you learn how to tackle operational and organisational problems, think on your feet, and deal with stakeholders efficiently while meeting the expectations of your employees. Watching other leaders handle their responsibilities firsthand is an enriching learning experience.
Hari Menon, the co-founder and CEO of Big Basket — the first online platform for groceries in India — worked in the corporate sector for over 15 years and gained valuable experience by working for companies such as PlanetAsia and Wipro. Tapping into this rich and versatile work experience, he founded Big Basket in his late 40s.
2. Build strong networks and connections
When you work alongside the thought leaders and industry influencers in your sector, you not only acquire knowledge but also build a network of powerful contacts who can be your investors, advisors, mentors and even business partners.
Since these connections have enormous credibility within your sector as well as with potential investors, it makes things easier for you when you’re setting up your business venture. By connecting with a broader community of like-minded individuals, you benefit from their expertise, wisdom and insights.
3. Understand what differentiates a good boss from a bad boss
Entrepreneurs aren’t just innovators or mad scientists; they’re also leaders who run their organisations and manage their employees. As a result, they must understand the characteristics of a good boss and be wary of the traits of a terrible boss.
When you work for a good boss, you learn how to be a good leader, whereas when you work for a lousy boss, you learn how not to handle your employee communications.
4. Discover the key to building successful teams
Successful companies aren’t run by individuals, but by teams. Having a stellar team that shares your vision to build and scale a successful business is always beneficial. However, it’s difficult to understand how to build and manage highly productive teams if you have never been a part of any team in an organisation before.
Bill Gates reasons that if entrepreneurs want to go fast in business, then they can go alone, but if they wanted to go far and build a sustainable business, then they must go together with their teams. Similarly, Steve Jobs believed that great things in business were never accomplished by one person, but by teams.
As an entrepreneur, you should have the ability to recognise the right skills and attitude needed to choose members for your teams and motivate them to achieve business goals.
Working for someone else while developing your business idea can get hard. You might wonder if it’s all worth it, especially with rags to riches stories of entrepreneurs almost going bankrupt, or building their empires all by themselves. While it sounds incredible, it is not the complete picture.
Dig deeper and you’ll find years spent building networks, fostering teams and understanding business and organisational management. Working for someone else increases your credibility as a professional, hones your abilities, and helps you understand how to build and sustain a business. It also teaches you how to be a great leader and provides you with cash cushion that you can rely on when you finally decide to start building your startup.