Are You Building An Empire Or A Business?

Whenever I meet with a small business owner for the first time, I always ask them the same question. What is your strategy for future growth? Their answer tells me a number of things. First, it tells me if they have one. Second, it tells me whether they are trying to build an empire or a business.

Here’s what I mean by that.buildingempirebusiness

If the leader talks about where he sees himself as this business grows – empire. If the leader talks about how he sees the business growing including plans for employees and expansion – business.

This is an important distinction.

If the leader is focused on building this business solely for his own personal gain then their decisions will be focused around that goal. They will make moves that get them closer to where they want to see themselves. Sometimes these moves will come at the expense of others. While this leader may be a brilliant business mind and may actually have the ability to grow a successful business, because they are focused on their empire, the road to get there could be rocky and not fun for anyone else involved.

On the other hand, the leader who is focused on business growth with or without personal gain is looking for ways in which everyone wins while the business grows. This individual is going to hire employees who not only help move the business forward, but who they can help grow as well. This individual may even take personal losses in order to grow the business because they believe in it so much.

It’s probably pretty easy to figure out which one you want to work with.

When I’ve had this conversation with other leaders before they assume I am focusing on ego here. There are very successful leaders with huge egos. This is more about intent, drive and focus. Is it on them or the business?

Have you worked with someone just looking to build an empire? What worked or didn’t work about their leadership style? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Sabrina Baker
Sabrina Baker, PHR is the founder and CEO of Acacia HR Solutions, a human resource outsourcing, consulting and recruiting firm located outside of Chicago, IL. Sabrina was a human resource leader for eleven years before starting her own business in 2011. She serves on the Illinois Society of Human Resources Council board and holds the position of Annual Conference Chair. She is also a member of the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) press team and is a regular contributor to their We Know Next blog. After experiencing her own layoff in 2010, Sabrina became very passionate about helping job seekers find work. Through her business and volunteer efforts she makes helping people find jobs a priority. Sabrina was named one of the Top 100 HR Influencers to follow on Twitter via the Huffington Post in 2013 and one of the Faces of Recruiting and Staffing by HR Marketer in 2014.
Sabrina Baker
Sabrina Baker




  • May 11, 2014


    ThinDifference SabrinaLBaker gingerconsult thanks for sharing. Amazing read and insights Sabrina.

  • May 11, 2014


    ThinDifference It just went live, crediting you, on my RebelMouse