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Continued from Previous……
We stay on the topic and see what the obstacles in the way of scaling up are. Our local issues are different from the ones seen in large organizations on international scale.
Vision can only come from the top. The entrepreneurs deserve special respect and admiration for the courage they show in taking risks, and for the untiring efforts they invest to establish an enterprise from scratch. It is reasonable to assume that something must be driving them from within. It may be the vision of future, the urge to do something or the desire to make big money. All these drives lead to future. For most enterprises, the course is standard. The entrepreneur starts alone, puts together business, puts together a team and runs it single-handedly. After achieving basic stability, the entrepreneur has the luxury to sit back some time and try to see long into the future, see dreams and make them come true. Most, if not all, entrepreneurs follow the same course. However, the paths change from this point onwards. Some become contented early with what they have achieved, some get tempted to make quick, effortless money rather than toiling for it, some think of handing it to others and start all over again with another enterprise, while yet others visualize a long, growing, prosperous business for them and their future generations.
Future vison comes from a purpose, and its size and longevity depend on it. I was listening to a Chinese razor company owner’s interview. The interviewer asked him about his future vision. He said, “we shall still be making razors even after 500 years because people would still be shaving”. Please note that there was no mention of money or family. When an entrepreneur restricts his goals to prosperity of his/her family, the vision suddenly shrinks. A larger vision requires looking into future and considering the enterprise as a contribution in public space. Of course, it is personal and family, but the person will perish after certain number of years and family may or may not be able to run it. The enterprise becomes future-oriented and future-driven when it is converted into an organization, elevated to a position where it run by certain rules and not just family whims.
In a long working life, I have found that the majority of small/medium enterprises owners do not carry any vision at all, and they do not think beyond making money and gratifying personal and family wants. This serious omission is the biggest obstacle in scaling up of business and the enterprise.
Passion for Growth
The second, and probably equally important factor is passion for growth. Passion may be termed as ‘intensified desire’. It is a great driver even when it is not altruistic. Passion keeps people moving towards the kind of goals which Jim Collins calls BHAG – Big Hairy Audacious Goals. Such goals may seem crazy and unachievable, but passionate people follow these all the same, and achieve also.
As a nation, we lack passion. It may sound a rather harsh judgment, but all analyses lead to the same conclusion. There are few divergent people here and there, but they do not change the overall culture of passionless life. Our children do not carry passion for studies, our adults do not carry passion for work, our elders do not carry passion for contributing back to society, our politics is devoid of passionate ideologies, our entrepreneurs are not passionate about making their mark on this world and so on. We prefer to stay in this world in a mediocre way and die peacefully. This culture reflects on our businesses also.
The greatest driving force among our entrepreneurs is making money, by any means whatsoever. The passion for money is seen equally among the highly qualified professionals such as doctors, lawyers, engineers, architects etc. Passion for money, without labeling it good or bad, has the following implications.
- Passion for money starts dissipating as the needs, wants, and desires, in that order, get fulfilled. Upon reaching this stage, two future courses show up: be contented and slow down; or keep making more and money without purpose. There are no stats to back up, but it appears that the first path is treaded by more people. Those who choose to keep making money recklessly and hopelessly become icons like many people we know. The growth of enterprise suffers severely in both cases. In the former, it is due to apathy, and in the latter, it is due to recklessness.
- Passion for money leads to tunnel vision where the only light inside the tunnel and at the end of the tunnel is money. Abnormal desire for money reflects is spending and earning both. Penny pinching (and penny wise, pound foolish) is common and it keeps showing up in all the wrong places. Hundreds of offices are run in the way that the only the owner sits in airconditioned room; all others must bear undue heat and cold, and not complain. On the money-making end, all scams become legitimate, and all unfair means become fair. The fruits of these nefarious activities are never shared with the staff, who keep suffering on low salaries that are not paid on time, long hours, and systematic destruction of self-respect.
To be Continued……
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