Tag Archives: entrepreneur

Are we getting the “be an entrepreneur” message wrong?

We all know that there are too many people for too few jobs. These are some of the several reasons suggested, and my riposte to each.

  • Poor education – this is certainly a problem, but there are an alarming number of unemployed graduates around the world
  • Companies need people with experience – right, I get this – but how do the unemployed actually get this experience?
  • Job seekers don’t have the right skills or are not work ready – maybe this is the case but if you really need to employ people surely you can make a plan?
  • Job seekers don’t know what’s out there – if anyone still believes this, just do a Google search on jobs or career opportunities. There are literally dozens of sites with job postings. I understand that not everyone has a computer or mobile phone with internet access, but there are several places where people can access the internet, such as libraries and internet café’s.

But the fact remains – whether these reasons are valid or not – there are far too many people without jobs. Unemployment creates all sorts of social problems, such as crime. So we encourage people to become entrepreneurs. Great idea, but in the next breath we suggest that this means they can create jobs. But that must be scary. If you have never held a job of any consequence, the idea of not only putting yourself in work but also employing a whole bunch of people might just be a bridge too far for a budding young entrepreneur. First of all you have to register the business – not for the fainthearted, as I know from experience. Then you have to employ people with all the administration that goes with that, mange the finances, rent office space, and so on. Many potential entrepreneurs also don’t have any financial resources. Wikipedia defines as entrepreneur as “an individual who organizes and operates a business or businesses, taking on financial risk to do so”. I think we put too much emphasis on employing people, and too little on the fact that you can be a one-man show. With the right knowledge and passion, an individual can start a small business and make a living. Surely in the first instance that is enough? If he or she is successful and there is an opportunity to grow the business, the entrepreneur can decide whether they want to continue to run the organization and develop the skills they need, or sell the business as a going concern and move onto the next startup. Another opportunity to be master of your own destiny without needing to build an empire is to be an independent contractor to one or more other businesses.  This provides a person with an opportunity to be a sole proprietor without the administrative hassles of running a business. This might all sound obvious, but I wonder if it is to the many individuals who are looking for a way to provide food and shelter for their families. We must change the message, There Is nothing wrong with having big dreams, but if it becomes a barrier to doing something, then maybe we must start off by dreaming smaller. If I wanted to climb Everest (big dream, but not mine), I would first need to tackle several much smaller climbs. Let’s not make becoming an entrepreneur an Everest in the minds of people.  It’s okay to start small. Decide what is right for you!