I remember when I was a kid, my dad would run a mid-scale brick factory in the outskirt of our hometown. My dad was a hardcore communist by passion, and would always sympathize with the cause of the socially oppressed and financially challenged. He would hire day wage laborers to aid the process of brick manufacturing, pay them at the end of the day, even when they would not complete their job properly. Sometimes, he would pay them even if they didn’t complete a task for the day. His empathy for the so-called low-caste and socially stigmatized people also reflected quite prominently in his approach towards them in his day to day life. For instance, he would, quite wholeheartedly, allow the destitute to move in and stay in some of our vacant houses for free, for years.
When I grew up and became young enough to help dad run his brick factory, I tried interfering in his decision making process by telling him he should justify the expenses vis-à-vis the revenues. He would always disagree with me and say he could never go to bed peacefully if he paid less than what he thought a worker always deserved. These differences in our individual perception remained until he retired from active business operation and shut down the brick factory operation for lack of funds. What still survived though were his philosophy towards communism and belief of helping the downtrodden.
It’s 2012 and I am running a different operation here in my city. I had never thought I’d become an entrepreneur because I’d never thought I was motivated enough to marshal human resources. Making a lot of money was never my objective in life as I’d always believe the real charm of life boils down to attaining sound sleep at the end of the day. By some divine intervention, I entered the realm of entrepreneurship back in 2008 when I was quite inexperienced with running a company. I would always trust people, regardless of their intent. Eventually, they stabbed in my back, and I stepped down from running the operation, building another company on my own.
It’s been nearly 4 years since I started operating my own company. It has always been my mission to empower people professionally and personally. I have hired many people from my known circle in the past, although some of them have turned their back on me eventually. In those last 4 years, I have learned quite a few things about being an entrepreneur.
Simply running an enterprise doesn’t make one an entrepreneur; that, at best, makes you a businessman. An entrepreneur is someone who dreams big and feeds on his passion to achieve something valuable, something that outlives him. It’s not about looking out for ways to save operational costs to double the revenues. It’s about mentally drawing a picture of how rapidly you can realize your dream and develop an ecosystem of empowered co-workers and an incredible service that empowers your customers. It’s not about building a business model based revenue generation. It’s about thinking everyone you hire of your own, albeit with a great deal of caution.
I am not a businessman because I don’t even know how much I make each month. I’m not worried about losing bad employees to the competition. I am rather happy to be breathing free in a peaceful environment, free of any stress. When you choose to run a lot of people in order to make a fortune, you become a businessman. I’d rather manage a small team, and focus on developing a healthy ecosystem of knowledge, sustainable growth, empowerment and mutual trust. I’d rather remain an entrepreneur than develop into a profit-centric businessman. This is exactly what I have in my mind for this year as we enter the fourth anniversary of our organization.
Even today, I look back at my dad with his small brick factory, and realize he was always right.