Sunday, April 14, 2024 | Shawwal 4, 1445 H
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Entrepreneur or corporate career?


After three weeks invested in writing about international matters, I want to come back to the Sultanate of Oman. This is going to be a classic SME column based on the experience of one of the readers of the Oman Daily Observer: Nabil. He contacted me by email in early November to share with me his story.

Nabil is 35 years old and he has been working for a government’s entity for 11 years. He has climbed the career ladder quite significantly, and he is earning a good salary.

However, Nabil feels that is time for a change, and he is facing a dilemma. In his email he described how he is thorn between two choices: becoming an entrepreneur, or joining a corporation.

First and foremost, I want to tell Nabil that there is no right or wrong. He is still young, and he should not be too afraid of making a bold decision. I just want to caution him on pros and cons of both ways.

Let us start with entrepreneurship. Are you planning to work in the business, or to invest only? Working for your own business is a thrilling experience, with never a dull moment. But would you be willing to work from 8 am to 8 pm, six or even seven days a week? The success of a small business comes with a lot of hard work, and many problems to solve every single day.

But, if you are only planning to invest in the business, and let someone else work for you, be mindful that things might not go as you expect. Finding and attracting reliable employees, as well as retaining and motivating them, is challenging.

Often it is not only about salary. Being a boss requires a fair share of emotional intelligence to understand what goes through the mind and the heart of the team.

So, if the plan is to invest only, make sure that you can opt for one of these two options when things are not working as expected. The first option is to roll up your sleeves and jump into action when the business needs it.

The second one is to stop injecting investment in a business that is not returning profits. In other words, an entrepreneurs should always be ready to double down, or fail.

Now, let us talk about a corporate career. Nabil shared with me that his opportunity comes from Dubai, and he would need to relocate. This is absolutely a personal choice and no amount of advice could change a personal preference. Often family matters more than career and this is a decision that Nabil has to make in his heart. From pure business perspective, my advice is mostly about what to expect.

The corporate world is very structured. Those joining for the first time might not be aware of how much work has been done in a corporation before they joined. There are a lot of rules and restrictions.

This option might be less creative for sure, but could offer Nabil an opportunity to build up experience and learn about business standards.

And perhaps one day he could come back to the Sultanate of Oman to share his experience with other fellow Omanis facing a similar decision.

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