Managing a business requires that you are comfortable holding responsibility and reporting to an authority – the two always go together. Even if you are your own boss, you are still responsible to an authority: your bank, your shareholders, your integrity. Frequently, individuals start businesses because they can’t stand reporting to anyone else – they think they will be free of authorities that make the decisions and have control. This is an illusion.
Can you tell me the last time that you operated outside of authority, and were truly in control? Maybe you thought that starting a business would mean you could get out from under a lousy boss and be free. Beyond your boss, or your local police officer, there is still the nation you choose to live within that has laws and consequences. Even if you went to Antarctica, where there is almost zero government, you’re still under the influence of gravity and temperature. There is no place and no business that exists without authority.
Ultimately, authority enables and requires you to hold responsibility. To the police officer, you have the responsibility to avoid criminal activities. In Antarctica, you have the responsibility to wear protective clothing against the weather.
So when you find that you are trying to grow your business without creating limits or boundaries, and failing, ask yourself this question: “How am I trying to avoid real responsibility?” Responsibility is the freedom you wanted to create through your business – the choice to manage within that responsibility is the mark of a successful owner.