One of the profound forces that are shaping our lives today is the disruptive effect of technology on business models.
In the last decade alone, numerous giant companies have fallen victim to disruption. Many others have been humbled and forced to respond to ever-evolving customer preferences or risk going the dinosaur way.
Still we have many people amongst us who are stuck in the old mindset of going to school in order to get a secure job. This is despite the clear trends indicating formal jobs are diminishing every year and security itself becoming elusive.
Basically, an average person makes decisions based on security versus freedom where security, and not freedom is the overriding factor.
Ironically, security is just a mirage. It does not exist. Ask anyone who has been retrenched, sacked or forced to retire early from a position they thought was permanent and pensionable. When faced with thinking business as the only option for survival, they get to know better.
As Helen Keller rightly put it, “Security is mostly a superstition. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold…life is either a daring adventure or nothing”.
Many have been brainwashed into thinking that entrepreneurship is risky and employment is secure. Perhaps this was the case several decades ago but it is no longer the case.
In the modern world, nearly all employers are entrepreneurs. Even as job prospects diminish courtesy of disruptive innovation and technology, the managements of governments and non-government organisations are adopting business principles in management. If the employer then is not secure, how can the employee be secure?
The risk of employment is probably at its highest peak as disruptions cut across all industries. The safest way to be secure is to think like an entrepreneur, whether you are employed or not.
Guarantee only comes by being in control of your life. Being in a position where your current and future is controlled by market forces and your employer is leading a dangerous life.
The ancient Roman general Vegetius advised that the time to prepare for war is not when war is imminent but rather when times are peaceful. Likewise, the best time to think entrepreneurship is not when you have lost the job or retrenchment seems imminent.
In one narrative, its authenticity notwithstanding, Alexander the Great while strolling would stop and ask his commanders how they would react if an enemy attacked from their side. Immediately they would go into strategising mode and often question their military preparedness. This made them one of the strongest forces of the time.
Likewise, whether you are employed or in business it is important to pause and ask yourself what you would do if this or that happened today. What would you do if you lost most of your customers or job to the current wave of disruption?
Preparing for such an eventuality regardless of how remote it seems is the pathway to security and freedom.
This article was first published in The Business Daily on September 24, 2019.