I graduated 10 years ago and was never employed since then. It was one of the best things I have done for myself. You may think, ‘Now I will join the rat race, learn from my superiors and then I’ll branch out to start my own business’. That is a misconception many have regarding leadership and managing a business.

Leading and managing a business requires first hand experience, constant problem solving and a good support system from like minded people in order to advance rapidly. That would mean, the soonest you get your hands dirty and get learning, the higher the probability you have to succeed. If you think you can learn how to be a boss from your experience working for others, you are wrong. When you work for others, you learn HOW TO WORK FOR OTHERS. In other words, to be a follower. However, you need to learn how to lead and manage your own business.

One of the many mistakes I see young employees do is to start being in a clique with the rest of the staff that are of similar position. The staffs eat lunches together, the managers have their lunches together elsewhere and the bosses have their lunches elsewhere as well. I am not trying to say that everybody should have a party together all the time, but this creates an environment where the staffs bitches about the managers and the managers bitches bout the staffs, etc etc. It SEPARATES the entire team into a hierarchy. Then if you are in a low level position, do you think you can get easily promoted if you are always hanging with the same bunch of people with the same position as you? or if you feel great bitching or defending your fellow colleagues from a bullying senior? Do not be so quick to judge that your superiors are unfair, demanding and rude if you did not even try to comprehend their position or level of thinking yet.

Once you have tried to understand why they do the things they do, perhaps you will realise that their actions are justified. And when you have come to that stage of understanding, you yourself will realise that you belong to that group of hierarchy in your company. That is one of the first steps to climbing the corporate ladder.

For those of you who are so keen on starting your first business, you probably know it is going to be difficult. But no matter how prepared and how well researched you are, you will find that it is much more difficult than you first expected it to be. You have a million things to solve and to decide, making you a very lousy friend and lover. :p You will also be very forgetful since you start to rely on notes due to to much information being thrown at you all the time. Because of that, keep everything in FORMAL writing. EMAIL or WHATSAPP is good. That’s all your proof and evidence in case the shit hits the fan. And if you forget something, check the email.

And of course, most would choose to do their first business with friends. Nice and all but along the way, people start hating on each other. I can guarantee you it will happen. Like in most relationships, we all hit rock in 2 years time. Same goes for business partnership, in 2 years time you will feel like you can kill each other. Most of all, you will feel that you are the CORRECT one. Despite setting up the partnership in all good intention and splitting responsibilities wisely, if the direction of the company differs in every partner, the business cannot survive. One will feel he work too much. Another one will feel that the rest are stupid. And another one will feel happy and comfortable(the useless one).

Anyway, despite all those FEELINGS, which at the end of the day are still just feelings.. you will come to a point where you want more control. Especially in steering the company. If you don’t, it means you are more of a follower anyway. Why are you reading this then?

There’s a story I would like to share with you. Two accountants started an accounting firm together. They were best friends. Along the way, the business boomed and they decided to split up. One of them was a humble and conservative man. The other is ambitious and aggressive. It was apparent that both directions cannot coexist in the same company. They split up and started their own companies. At the end of the day, which one succeed?

Well, both did. The humble accountant started a small neighbourhood firm and continued to service clients who trust them, steadily growing their business. The ambitious accountant started a corporate firm catered for high end clients. Both did well and its a true story because their son and daughter got married to each other. Sounds like the beginning of a korean drama but I kid you not, this is a true story.

The point is, there is no right or wrong way to run a company. But if you feel very strongly about chartering a different course for your company, remember that it doesn’t always mean you are the correct one. It would just mean you are more controlling and more stubborn. Not a bad thing but I strongly advise that you have a majority say for your next company. Not everyone can be diplomatic and sharing. I, for one, am quite autocratic and on certain days of the month, wouldn’t even tolerate an opinion from my cat, much less the people I work with.

Moral of the story is, no one is perfect and just because you are right once or twice, doesn’t make you superior and don’t let that ego destroy any partnerships or friendships that you have now. You would most definitely regret it in the future.