Why do you have a business? Why did you start the business? To serve customers, NO, I don’t think so. Businesses exist to serve customers, but they were created to serve you, the business owner, the entrepreneur, the individual. But they don’t. They do not serve us. Look at the life and working conditions of business owners, and you will see I am speaking the truth.
Entrepreneurship is killing entrepreneurship because of the relationship between business and business owner. Our businesses have a parasitic relationship with us. The Oxford dictionary says the following about parasites: “A person (your business) who habitually relies on or exploits others (you) and gives nothing in return”. Now that sounds just like owning a business. That is how entrepreneurship currently looks like, like a parasite.
You build a profitable jail you can never leave, or it might collapse without you. To serve ever growing business/customer demands you cut corners by eating on the run, and your health deteriorates. Your relationships turn toxic because you are never home. You get home and your dog barks at you because it does not recognises you. Financially your are treated like the runt of the litter, paid last and barely making ends meet.
Why? For a one in ten chance of success. Whohoooo! Now that sounds like a great investment. This makes Enron look like a sweet deal. However, this is what we have. Welcome to entrepreneurship.
Why are you, the person who started the business, treated like the least important in the business? We are overworked and overstressed. Eventually, some entrepreneurs collapse, and then it takes everything down with it, even the parasite (your business). This way of doing entrepreneurship is not sustainable because this approach to entrepreneurship is killing entrepreneurship. Just like a good old parasite who sucks its host dry only to die with it.
I assume the customer-focused Kamakazi’s will step in right about now and take me on about the virtues of self-sacrifice, service, customers service and giving it all etc. etc. Dude! I have kids; I have a wife. There is more to my life than just a business. If I I have to give up my life, then why did I start this business?
Businesses exist to serve customers, but they were created by us to serve us, the business owners. I am sorry to say, but your business WILL never serve you. It is impossible to do so because current entrepreneurial thinking ONLY revolves around serving the customer. Pick up a book, watch a YouTube on business success, listen to some guru and they will all say one thing: “customer, customer, customer”. I am not saying we should not serve the customer, without them this will not work. But we should recognise that you are a customer too.
Look at your business model, are you there? Does it even list your value proposition? What? You have a value proposition? Yes, you do. Your value proposition is the list of things you thought you were going to get when you started this business.
How about the financial models, do you see yourself there? Mmmm, usually in the minimum wage section. What are your financial projections looking for the year ahead as the business owner? Or are you only planning for the customer again?
Entrepreneurship is NOT working
I think entrepreneurship is the biggest con sold to people. It is sold as a vehicle to uplift yourself economically, have more time, more money and even a better life. But the problem is that it CAN’T give you that because it is only customer focused. How can something that does not recognise you as a client serve you? It can’t.
We need to move away from the current approach of the customer first, business and then entrepreneur. Instead follow a process of the entrepreneur first, business and then the customer. We need to focus on building successful entrepreneurs and not just successful businesses. Developing and growing successful entrepreneurs will lead them building successful businesses because they have the time, the resources and will to do it.
What would work look like for you if you looked forward to being there? Knowing that if you put eight hours or even 14 hours of work in on that day that it will serve your needs as much as the customer. What would your customer service look like? We will get the current stable of entrepreneurs to achieve more following this thinking. More people will want to become entrepreneurs because it moves away from the image of the sacrificial lamb. Entrepreneur first. Not the other way around where we scare people with a macho image of giving everything, and you might win the entrepreneurial lottery. That is not exerting control. That is a success based on luck, financial ruin, risk and broken dreams.
Let’s stop this madness. Entrepreneurs deserve more than what they are currently getting. Customers will get more than what they are currently getting because I WANT to be there to serve them. Communities will grow because we can finally create real jobs and realise every politician’s big dream, of uplifting the economy.
I have been an entrepreneur since 1999. I have had my challenges. I have lost some big businesses, and I have built some big businesses. I enjoy this; I cannot do anything else. This is me. I am an entrepreneur. I am someone who builds businesses, but I build them differently. I build my business to serve me.
I fetch my son from school; I do homework with him. I exercise, I read, and I still get to do the things I want to do while serving my customers. I am a dad. I am a husband. I am someone who saw his father give everything to his businesses and today has nothing to show for it. I see too many entrepreneurs ending their lives like this. They worked their fingers to the bone. They sacrificed their time with their families. They missed 5, 10 or 15 year periods of their children growing up. And then they end up barely making ends meet later in life.
Not on my watch. Not on my watch. Fight me, fight my view on entrepreneurship if you do not like it. Thank you for doing that, it is your right, and I respect it. But I will not stop. I will NOT stop until we approach entrepreneurship differently. I will not stop until we move away from teaching people the parasitic approach to entrepreneurship because I care about the people who run these businesses. I know them, I work with them, I am one of them. There is more to me than just work. There is more to you than just work.
You deserve better, and your business should give it to you. But you have to tell it too. May you have amazing success with your business today. May you have amazing success in your life today. Go home early. Hug your family, tell them you love them. Sit down, put your phone away, and just talk to the people you love in your life, your family, your partner, your children, your friends. Entrepreneurs can do that too.
If you resonated with this, if you nodded anywhere in agreement while reading this article, then please share with friends, colleagues and anyone else in your network. I believe this is important and I would appreciate all the help I can get in making people aware of this. Thank you.