Few days ago, I was trying to explain to my daughter, who is a kindergarten student, about puppetry. I was explaining that there is actually a puppeteer who controls all the puppets and they themselves do not really move. Being a kindergarten student, her child mind was very surprised as her perception was that the puppets talk and dance themselves; but in reality they talk and dance to the tune of others.
Being an entrepreneur is an exciting journey. Here one can take his own decisions and strive for what that individual really loves. In most cases, that specific individual works on his own or with his team in pursuit of the lifestyles he deserves. Along the way they sometimes lost control and in some cases they are worse off than if they were still an employee. They often lose their control of what work they do, how they do it, when they do it and even at times, how much they charge, get charged, get paid or have to pay; in another words the owner may end up becoming someone's puppet.
A business has got many employees. An entrepreneur cannot work everything by himself but needs to employ many other individuals to work on his behalf. But sometimes, along the way the entrepreneur experiences a situation where the management actually handles the overall business and he does not have any choice but accept their ideas. So he actually becomes the puppet who sings to the tune of the management, in other words the puppeteer.
Being a puppet is not always a bad thing as sometimes the entrepreneur does not have the capacity to take it to the next level, pushing himself to trust in the capable management. But being a puppet is extremely expensive when the management tends to prove its capacity to the stakeholders and creates sick babies in business. So, an entrepreneur may accept to be a puppet but with some tricky control over the puppeteer.
Every business must have its core product or competencies. The entrepreneur must not compromise on these core competencies, as these are the actual success calculators of one's business.
So even if the management team explores and identifies the supplier of the key products, the entrepreneur must be the one who approves it. The supplier base should be diversified to control bargaining power of the suppliers. Constantly, improving customer base is a key idea, so that the biggest customer will also be a smaller percentage of the overall sales.
Problem of becoming a puppet actually originates from a different aspect: what if the puppeteer transforms into a devil? If we talk about Bangladeshi businesses, most of the business enterprises are actually family owned. In family owned businesses, the founder is basically the creator and the generations are sometimes credible owners or the board of directors - may be the puppets or the entrepreneurs.
If the next generation owners are credible entrepreneurs, this will lead to the company's growth. But if they are the puppet, few questions arise - are puppets controlling good puppeteers or devils? Or they themselves are the devils?
Therefore, before things go wrong, every business must point out - the entrepreneurs, the puppets, the puppeteer and the devil around them to manage a business successfully. And if the business fails to identify these players in a business, maybe it will be difficult to run the business even.
Dr Mohammad Naveed Ahmed is the Managing Partner of Miyako Appliances Bangladesh. He can be reached at email@example.com
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of The Business Standard