“One thing that often frustrates entrepreneurs is the realization that they are alone in the organization in their concerns regarding the future of their company. This is one of the reasons for the adage, “It is lonely at the top.” Entrepreneurs need to realize that, with few exceptions, nobody will ever understand or empathize with that loneliness (Mills, p.22).” There are many reasons entrepreneurs experience this loneliness.
- Risk– Many business owners started their company from scratch. They have invested their money, time, and talents into the business. Many have risked nearly everything for their business to be successful. Probably most of the employees who work for these business owners have never started their own company and simply are not capable of understanding the commitment and accompanying risk it takes to own a company. This is the reason owners are rewarded the most, they are the ones who have and are taking the risk.
- Tough Decisions– Necessary decisions to keep the company moving forward are made daily at all levels of the business; however, when it comes to the most difficult decisions (often involving people, large investments, or future direction), it is the owner who must be the final decision maker, and it can be a lonely spot even though it is the right decision. Curt Flood was a major league baseball player in the 1960s and 70s. Flood had been traded from the Cardinals to the Phillies even though he did not want to play for the Phillies or live in Philadelphia. He filed a $1 million lawsuit and wanted to overthrow the “reserve clause”, a part of a contract that bound a player to his team. “Despite the urging of players’ union head Marvin Miller, no active major league player came out for Flood, even though overturning the reserve clause would have made all of them free agents and increased their salaries many times over. Most of the players later confessed to being afraid of retribution from management (Barra, p. 373).” It took a leader to stand alone and change the future direction of player contracts. A business owner often has to stand alone to change the future direction of the company for the good of all involved.
- Vision– The business entrepreneurs I have worked with are constantly thinking about the future. They have a vision. They know where they are headed and set goals that move them toward the future they have envisioned. Their people cannot fully comprehend this vision. “They may understand part of the vision, but they will never understand the “big Picture” that you have in your mind (Mills, p. 22, 23).”
Entrepreneurs represent a critical part of the successful foundation of our country. To succeed they often have to stand alone. They deserve our support, encouragement, and respect.
*Mills, Jerry L., (2006), The Danger Zone
*Barra, Allen, (2013), Mickey And Willie