Friday, November 09, 2007

The great risk in NOT starting your own enterprise

The old way of thinking about starting your own business said that it was very risky.

The newer, smarter way of thinking about startups is the exact inverse.

It is much riskier to NOT start your own enterprise under these economic circumstances.

I am not a doomsday guy. Just the opposite. However, everyone I know that works in large organizations, especially those that have been through a few years of that grind, know that these are rough times and getting worse. The security that used to be the hallmark of large companies is long gone in the U.S. economy.

This broken macro economic mess is a risk to all of us. However, broken stuff is also the surest place to look for opportunities that I know of.

The security we all want is in our own hands. Everyone has marketable skills they can deploy in the service of fixing problems.

Who knows where this current credit crisis will lead. It's certainly a big correction. The Dow dropped by the largest amount since 9/11 this week, led by the gang of big financials. The front page of the biz section of the NY Times on Thursday Nov 8th was dominated by G.M.'s $39 billion write-down for the quarter, yet another multi-billion dollar mortgage related loss, and decreased holiday spending. Great, a crummy Christmas too.

Yet on that same day, parked back at page 10, there was a story headlined, "Small Business Flourishing Despite a Weakened Economy". It was a good piece by Brent Bowers, that highlighted the emerging reality that small businesses are the engine for job growth, especially in troubled economic times. My local paper, headlined tonight's business section with a story about leaders of Wisconsin's emerging biotech firms enthusiastically speeding forward, full speed ahead.

I'm not going to tell you that small business startups are all an exercise in skipping off to a happy ending.

I am going to tell you that if you don't plan and start your own enterprise, your financial security will be at greater risk in the coming years. Period.

You may make less money. You may make more. You will have more control over your time. You will have more personal say over your own economic security.

You tell me what's risky about that. You can do it friend.

What Economic Slowdown? by Brent Bowers

Brent Bower's article links at the NY Times

Brent Bowers, a longtime small-business editor at The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, is author of The Eight Patterns of Highly Effective Entrepreneurs, now out in paperback (Doubleday).

His column In the Hunt scrutinizes the changing world of small business and the colorful characters who inhabit it.

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