You’re Not Your Company, But You Are Your Business

Photo: pikwizard.com
Photo: pikwizard.com

Don’t shut down your company!” I told my good friend a few days ago, after she told me that this is it, she is tired of trying to grow the business fast enough, big enough, profitable and stable enough. “Why work twice as hard, if the result is making just as I could make as an employee, on a salary?” She claimed.

The following post explains through this example how the business unit manifesto works not just for people who are looking for a job, for employees and for interns – but also for entrepreneurs, founders, business owners, and freelancers.

Anybody who started and built a business, big or small, knows this on their skin: SMBs (small & medium businesses), start-ups and freelancers are extremely affected by business cycles, as their markets go up and down. As a new business which is just studying its market behavior, “surviving” through downtrends is hard. Very hard. Not just financially, but emotionally as well. If you ask me, the three hardest things for many entrepreneurs are the uncertainty, the loneliness and the patience needed. As a known saying goes, “The reason 95% work for the other 5%, is because those other 5% are the ones who are willing to tolerate and handle constant uncertainty” (if you know the source, please let me know).

So, why did I tell my good friend not to shut down her business? Because the “business unit manifesto” sees the situation differently.

How my friend, like most people, sees the situation

  • “I am the owner of my company, which does X, Y and Z.”
  • “After growing fast and expanding with this company, I suddenly look ahead, and do not see how I make enough revenue and income from X, Y and Z.”
  • “I shed blood, sweat and tears to plan ahead and secure future income from X, Y and Z for my business. But, since I do not see any results right now, it must be either my personal failure, or – there’s just no justification for my company to exist.”
  • “As for me, personally? I can do so many things beyond X, Y and Z, such as consulting, advising and collaborating with others around me, sell other products, provide other services, etc. I have so much experience to share”!
  • “These are also things I really want to do personally.”
  • However, they are not part X, Y and Z. So, I can’t do it under my company’s name. It’s not what my business should do.”
  • “I should shut down my full time business and go look for a full time job, looking for self-fulfillment someplace else.”

How the “business unit manifesto” sees the situation

  • You are a business unit, which is yourself. It is as if you are the owner of a business called “Your Name, Inc.”
  • This business has its own reputation (yours), and can provide many goods and services, to many target audiences, in various markets – according to your skills, talents, network and experience.
  • The vision and mission of that business are your own personal career vision and mission.
  • Also, that business of yours (“Your Name, Inc.”) owns another separate company, which is the company that does X, Y and Z. It is as if it was an actual, formal daughter-company of your business.
  • That company, which was founded by your business (you), has its own vision and mission, which of course overlap your business’ ones, but are not identical, and can change over time.
  • Your business could (and should, if you ask me) operate in many other markets, not just in those that your daughter-company is operating in.
  • Thus, as a business-unit (or, the owner of both your business and your company), you should diversify your portfolio with products and services in various markets. It’s simple risk management of business owners, which in a way, we all are in today’s world of work.
  • So, no! You should not shut down your business. You could look for a job, though, since, according to the business unit manifesto, the company that will hire you is nothing more than a customer of your business unit. What you are effectively doing is diversifying your portfolio.

Takeaways

  • In today’s on-demand economy, I believe that we are all business units. We must all think like entrepreneurs.
  • As founders, we need to remember that we are not our company, and our company is not us.
  • But, we are indeed our own business unit owners.
  • We should separate between the two and be true, honest and sincere about the company’s vision and mission – and our owns.
  • What we may want to do is grow the assets that will allow us to have the patience and resilience needed to “eat” the loneliness and uncertainty that entrepreneurship comes with, all the way to glory and fulfillment.
About the Author
Assaf is passionate about promoting business in and with Israel, helping and mentoring entrepreneurs, advising young professionals with career planning and self-fulfillment, and more. Assaf acts as a brand ambassador of Israel as 'Start-Up Nation', speaking to thousands of businessmen, investors, entrepreneurs, young professionals, students and others, both in Israel and around the world. Assaf also works as a business development and marketing consultant to Israeli start-ups and others.
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