Career Trends: Challenging decisions every entrepreneur must make

5 min read

Edition: November 19th, 2021
Curated by the Knowledge Team of ICS Career GPS

By knowing a bit about the decisions ahead, entrepreneurs can prepare with the right skills and knowledge to keep their business dreams alive. (Image Credit: Shutterstock)
  • Excerpts from article by Stuart Gentle, published on

Business leaders make dozens of decisions every day. Yet, no one in business makes nearly as many decisions as an entrepreneur. An entrepreneur’s decisions, even at the earliest stages of business development, will determine so much about how an organisation works and whether or not it survives and thrives.

Unfortunately, not all aspiring entrepreneurs understand the importance of the decisions they make early on, and as a result, they set themselves and their ventures up for failure.

Entrepreneurs need to prepare for their critical roles as decision-makers.

Here are some of the most difficult (and significant) decisions aspiring entrepreneurs must make:

1. Whether to become an entrepreneur at all

  • Entrepreneurship is not an easy road. Though being a successful entrepreneur comes with benefits almost impossible to find in other lines of work, it is possible for entrepreneurship efforts to fail, and the price of failure can be steep.
  • The first and arguably most important decision every would-be entrepreneur faces is whether to become an entrepreneur at all.
  • To make this decision, one needs to not only collect as much information as possible but also to develop a plan for what entrepreneurship will look like in their specific circumstances.
  • Some entrepreneurs feel more confident devoting only part of their time to growing their business while they continue to earn income through employment.
  • Other prefer to dive head-first into running their own business.
  • Data on the appropriate markets, roadmaps for business growth and consideration for one’s own lifestyle should guide this decision-making process.

2. A market-disrupting idea or the tried and tested?

  • Not every entrepreneur has a market-disrupting idea for a brand-new product or service.
  • Many start tried-and-true businesses in established industries — and they find abundant success doing so.
  • Oftentimes, it is safer to invest in a business concept that has been proven to be profitable.
  • However, some entrepreneurs have ideas that are untested and that could provide a business leader with extraordinary success.
  • Doing something new is riskier than following a well-trod business path, so entrepreneurs need to commit to researching their market to find proof that their business idea will take off.
  • It is important for entrepreneurs to set aside any biases that might affect this decision.

3. When and how to expand the business

  • Many entrepreneurs launch their business with hardly more than a laptop in the corner of their bedroom, but in time, most need to face the important decisions of whether, when and how to expand.
  • Smaller businesses seem more manageable and less risky, especially to first-time entrepreneurs who might lack much experience leading a large numbers of employees.
  • However, larger businesses have greater potential for revenue, not to mention greater access to a more sizeable customer audience.
  • Entrepreneurs need to think critically about how their business will grow as they make the decision to expand.
  • Expansion can mean different things to different businesses; it can mean hiring more staff, adding to a product line, broadening marketing efforts and more.
  • Thinking about the systems and processes involved in expansion will help entrepreneurs make the right decisions.

4. How to delegate/outsource responsibilities

  • Some entrepreneurs become accustomed to doing it all themselves, especially when their businesses are young.
  • Yet, eventually, entrepreneurs will need to delegate responsibilities to someone else.
  • Both hiring in-house staff and outsourcing to qualified third parties have their benefits.
  • Entrepreneurs should weigh the costs of both options and determine how outsourcing might impact their company culture.
  • To make the right decision about outsourcing, entrepreneurs might speak with their fellow business leaders and current employees, and they should interview potential firms to better understand what third parties can offer that new hires can’t.

5. The best way to keep going

  • Entrepreneurship is difficult in the beginning, and though many entrepreneurs quickly gain the skills and knowledge to survive and thrive, the career path hardly becomes easier as a business grows and matures.
  • In truth, business ownership is a much different role from entrepreneurship, so every entrepreneur will eventually need to ask themselves whether they want to continue running their business as a leader or cut ties and start over again.
  • Many entrepreneurs who enjoy the thrill of launching a startup become disengaged with the day-to-day responsibilities of running an organisation.
  • Then again, some entrepreneurs feel greater comfort in their role once their business stabilises.

Every experience of entrepreneurship is challenging. By knowing a bit about the decisions ahead, entrepreneurs can prepare with the right skills and knowledge to keep their business dreams alive.

(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the article mentioned above are those of the author(s). They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of ICS Career GPS or its staff.)

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