We often envy business owners, especially the successful ones who drive luxury cars and live the good life. Employees can feel pretty resentful, wondering why they have to work so hard for the bosses' benefit.
Well, I can certainly tell you that it can be really lonely as a boss. For a small business owner like me, someone with no business partner or advisor to turn to, making decisions can be quite stressful.... the latest case being the impending lease expiry. Should I stay put or find a new place? To buy or to lease? These are the questions that have been swirling round my head the last few weeks.
Owners of bigger companies maybe better off for they have advisors and other directors to consult. Still, I feel running a big company is way more stressful.
I know a guy who has great business acumen. He grew his small business into a really huge corporation that became listed on the main board. He's highly successful and drives around in a Maserati and has houses in the prime district.
All these years, he made his own business decisions to expand into new markets, acquire dealerships, negotiate facilities from the bank, invest in properties etc.
When he was still a small business owner, it was quite normal for him to window-dress his books or advance loans from his company. Nobody questioned him. But now that his company has gone public, some of the undesirable practices have come to light. Fellow directors (whom he had groomed over the years to manage the company) have reported against him. He is now being interrogated and the company is under investigation.
He's an ambitious man who had worked hard to build his company. Sadly, all these may be taken away from him. At this moment, I wonder if he has anyone to turn to. I remember he used to call me out for coffee after he had successfully sealed another deal with a big manufacturer.
I used to wonder of all the people in the world, why would he have coffee with a nobody like me. He used to say, "You don't understand Ting. It's awfully lonely at the top."
I think I understand now, even though I am not at the top.