I once read that an electrical construction business manager can be compared to an airline pilot. At first blush, this seems somewhat absurd—business managers aren’t responsible for the safety of hundreds of lives. But relatively speaking, this is a viable analogy. How so?

The pilot’s goal is to keep the plane (albeit with the help of sophisticated computers) on a selected route so passengers may arrive at their destination. Similarly, the business manager “guides” the electrical construction company and its employees so the company is successful and profitable. Both put into place a series of events, resulting in the achievement of their respective goals. Both determine the necessary functions they must carry out to meet the goals, and in what order. Both have authority over and are responsible for subordinates. Both must also exhibit leadership and provide motivation through their thoughts, demeanor, and actions.

While the pilot is in constant control of the plane, observing weather and the plane’s performance, the business manager is in constant control of the business, observing operations, paying attention to complaints from customers, suppliers, and employees, and making necessary business decisions.

A business manager must be an entrepreneur. When times are good, we see a lot of “entrepreneurs” coming out of the field and going into business for themselves. The thinking is: “I can do this; why should I work so someone else reaps the profits?” Well, there are many pitfalls to this mindset theory.

According to the book, Successful Business Operations for Electrical Contractors, (Johnson and Whitson, McGraw-Hill Co., ISBN 0-07-032655-X; Phone: 212-337-5945), if you are thinking about going into business, you should ask yourself:

  • Do I respond well to authority?

  • Do I like routine work patterns?

  • Do I enjoy a stable, constant work environment?

  • Do I work well within clearly set parameters?

  • Do I work hard to be in a “comfort zone?”

If your answer is YES to most of these questions, you’ll probably have problems running your anticipated business. Why? There’s just too much uncertainty in the business world. And, the personal financial risk will negatively affect your “comfort zone.” It’s just not for you.

Suppose you ask yourself these questions (again from the above-mentioned book):

  • Do I look at many problems as opportunities in disguise?

  • Do I believe work is an all-important thing in my life?

  • Do I need to be in control?

  • Do I seek change in variable situations?

  • Am I willing to take quick action without getting approval from other people?

  • Do I enjoy establishing parameters and objectives to work by?

  • Am I constantly thinking of new things to do, avoiding routine?

If your answer is YES to most of these questions, then you’re a promising candidate and most likely suitable to own and run your own business.

So, before you decide to guide your electrical construction “airship,” do some inward inspection. It may save you a lot of grief, not to mention considerable money.