Friday, February 20, 2009
Attack this economy with simple stuff
I get to work full time in economic development and the things I get to see from that side of the curtain are humbling.
I had a great meeting with a group from a beautiful rural Township this week. It was at night. It's so easy to forget how beautiful and how utterly dark the night sky can be and how brilliant the stars can be.
I'm getting to take these ideas of sustainable work into the field.
I will try to be short to emphasize this point. People want to know they can participate in their economic security. They want to be given permission to start their own enterprises. They want to be released from inappropriate levels of commercial expectations. They want to see if they can do it. Once they're doing it, they want to find the best way to fit that enterprise into their lives and into the economy.
If you work in economic development you know that many of these small startup enterprises, or smaller scale family businesses are dismissed. They aren't 'gazelles'. They don't make enough official job creation numbers required by the economic development grants. So what?
We need to attack this problem, and we need to attack it now.
This awful economy is not a reason to get under your desk. We need to attack this problem with whatever is available to people. We need to blunt the problems of this economy with hope and hard work, turn it, and ultimately make the lessons learned from it work for us in increasingly sustainable ways.
My new friends in my beautiful rural Township seemed to have their arms crossed in greeting to this new wise guy driving out from the county seat.
I told them I've screwed my startups up and they would to. I told them it would take more time than they or I would expect. I told them the world needs them, and they need the world. I told them that's not a reason to wait. That's the reason to start.
My friends were laughing (at/with/near?) me by the time we were done. I learned about many emerging new businesses but more importantly I learned again, about how much hope there is in the world and how hard people are prepared to work.
For anyone in econonomic development, find a way to start as many new enterprises as you can. Forget about what sectors they should be in. Forget about where you're going to get the grants. Forget about the daunting odds against these people succeeding and find a way to get them some optimism and some help. Under-promise, over-deliver and hurry up.
Find out what they love. Help them get working toward establishing a sustainable work base, in every aspect of what that means.
Those bright stars in that truly dark sky amazed me. Simple stuff.
Those hopeful startup entrepreneurs and hard working small businesses in that Township hall this week stood out from the dark headlines with an even brighter glow.
Simple stuff. Amazing.