Founding and building a business can be a solitary affair. Regardless of the circumstances of the creation of your business, if you are leading an organisation, then the ultimate responsibility for its continuation, growth and development rests on your shoulders – no one else. Leading a business can be the most exciting, dramatic and life-affirming thing you ever do. Conversely, the continual challenge can frustrate even the most skilled, and drain even the most energetic of us.
You may well have a team of partners, directors, shareholders or investors; you may also be fortunate to have a group of dedicated and talented employees which together help to drive your business forward, but that ultimate responsibility is yours alone. You know that, and they know that. I’m not for a moment suggesting that such a position can be lonely, especially with a great team around you, but the solitary nature of your responsibility means that many decisions can only ever be your call.
Whether starting out on your venture with a brand new company, or taking the helm of an already established business, you will learn a number of vital truths that simply cannot be fully understood to anyone who has not experienced it themselves. You are probably a shareholder, director and employee of the company at the same time; and each of these roles carries separate but overlapping responsibilities, for your investment, to your board, and to your fellow staff members. Everyone plans for their business to succeed, but you will know keenly that in practical terms, you will be the last to get paid. Only after salaries, taxes, suppliers and a raft of others have been settled, are you able to take reward from your own business. If there is a profit, and there is cash to realise from your company, then you have done well. If there is a loss, then the responsibility lies with you to support and effectively subsidise the company. The reward for building a profit-making business is well earned, because of the risk you take to make it happen.
Whilst this can perhaps be explained to others, as the leader of your business, only you can directly relate to this feeling of responsibility. This is why fellow entrepreneurs gain so much from networking with each other, sharing experiences, successes, and even failures. This is why they can uniquely empathise with others in the same position. This is also why progressive business leaders can directly and immediately reap the benefits of the Leadership Growth Programme devised and delivered by Kai Murray, a partner in Shirlaws Coaching, with an outstanding record of business success in her own right. The remarkable success of our business coaching programme has meant that our business leaders don’t have to travel the journey alone.