Teachers deservedly have their own commemorative day as their efforts are often under-appreciated and many of them would argue, under-compensated. It is good to see that after having their car tyres punctured, profanity hurled at them by parents, and legal proceedings filed against them by their own students, these professionals are celebrated and coddled by everyone on Teachers’ Day.
But I would like to take this opportunity to reminisce and thank the “teachers” who had taught me about entrepreneurship and running a business. While the good ones know who they are, these “teachers” taught me ‘how not to’ run a business.
DN was amazingly positive about everything and trusted everyone he dealt with. He was always cool about every challenge when people around him were worried. But because he never worries about things and trusted people too easily, employees, suppliers and customers undoubtedly took advantage of him.
In the end the business folded due to high cost, internal deceit and poor collection of payments. He taught me that while we have to be positive, we cannot trust everyone and have some appropriate scepticism in running a business.
WL was a sales maharishi, but also was a slave driver; he squeezed his workers for everything they had and more. While he expanded his fleet of luxury cars, his staffs were overworked, under-paid, and most of all, even after decades of loyal service, discarded like old newspaper when he did not need them anymore.
He taught me never to treat staffs like a Tutti Frutti machine and that loyalty and hard-work is worth more than another Beamer in the car porch.
AC was insecure and lacked the will to take the next step. She wanted to achieve bigger things for her 2-decade old stagnant business – one of her 2 staffs worked in the kitchen of the shop lot office – but always hesitated when it came to taking the next step. She taught me that being over-cautious wasn’t a good thing to grow a business and that the kitchen is meant for cooking and eating, not designing and editing magazines.
Thanks to all these “teachers” for without them, I would be less enlightened about the real meaning of entrepreneurship.