Monday, June 8, 2015
The Responsibility of Entrepreneurship
When I talk to aspiring entrepreneurs, they often tell me that they are drawn by the freedom and power of leading a company, and the idea that they answer only to themselves. The image that I think they may have in mind is the lone captain on the bridge of a ship, setting course and braving the wind and the waves to reach their sunny destination with a treasure chest.
The Rakish Brigantine - Sea Captain in Storm by N.C. Wyeth:
As an entrepreneur for the last 28 years, all I can do is to gently share the less glamorous reality -- it's all about the responsibility that you take on, not power, not perks, not freedom.
The leader of a company carries a heavy responsibility to all the people who make it a success. Responsibility starts with customers, continues with employees, investors, vendors and more. Even if you are planning your strategy alone, you depend on others to carry it out. It doesn't take long for the startup entrepreneur to learn that few goals can be reached without enlisting help, building partnerships, and making compromises so that your vision can co-exist with reality.
I suppose that in a way, captains of industry are like sea captains. They ultimately determine where the ship goes, and bear responsibility for their crew and for the treasure that has been entrusted to their care. May your voyage of entrepreneurship be the adventure of a lifetime.