Today’s generation of workers are incredibly entrepreneurial. Many seek to form their own start-up as opposed to working for a company. However, veteran entrepreneurs have estimated that the average ‘shelf life’ of a new Asian enterprise is only about 5 to 8 years before it hits its peak. During that time, the business must evolve and innovate to differentiate themselves or risk stagnating.

Whether or not an enterprise thrives is largely dependent on its ability to push the boundaries and going beyond established paradigms. The dilemma of Asian enterprises today main stems from the inability for a founder to let go when the situation arises.

Founders are more often than not overly protective of their businesses. This is understandable as they founded the business based on their own vision; thus, in a way, they are invested in the business as if it were the founder’s ‘child’. As a result, their companies are more easily exposed to risks from lacklustre innovation because these ‘founding fathers’ refuse to let go of the reins.

Comparatively, companies that have managed to thrive far beyond the ‘shelf life’ often have a competitive and an open-minded management style. Unlike their rivals under the rule of the founder, they normally have management talent that shares in the profits they help generate. Founders who run these types of successful businesses understand that compromises to their vision must sometimes be made in order to achieve greatness.

It is important that Asian entrepreneurs, especially ‘founding fathers’, learn to divorce themselves from their businesses. There would be no such thing as the shelf life of an enterprise if they knew how and when to let go, however tempting it is to take absolute control of decision-making.