August 12, 2011
Oh Entrepreneurs - Where Art Thou?
This is the United States of America, the Land of Opportunity, where dreams become reality. So far, this country's processes have been supportive of entrepreneurship. In fact, more and more business schools have specialized and developed dedicated entrepreneurship programs in an effort to support the "youth's flame" to be independent and live the dream. The country is longing for innovation and with the technology revolution and the Internet, customers have become more accessible. Product/service marketing has changed completely providing ample opportunity for creative thinkers to start their own business with limited investment in capital and equipment. Time has been the biggest investment.
Today's WSJ featured an article entitled "Shrinking in a Bad Economy: America'sEntrepreneur Class". The author, J. Bussey, raises the question whether "the damage done by the weak economy [will] have a long-lasting effect, discouraging the next generation of entrepreneurs? Bussey points out that U.S. job growth depends on small businesses. Arguably more so than ever. All we hear about as of late are the sizeable layoffs and cutbacks in headcount that are taking place, particularly in the U.S. Even today, the U.S. Postal Service announced that an additional 220,000 positions will be eliminated by 2015. The U.S. simply needs small businesses and the jobs they create.
Entrepreneurship has always taken a fair share of guts and willingness to take risks along with having capital. Who wants to take risks when red flags are going up everywhere and small business loans are hard to obtain? Who wants to be on their own, when security is what seems to be most critical? Some kind of sense of consistent financial income and health care coverage through an established organization seem more promising than venturing out. If that much growth in the U.S. economy is truly dependent on entrepreneurship, tough times may lay ahead. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the number of firms that have been established less than 12 months ago is declining.
But Americans are known to persevere. The global economy is changing, power houses are shifting, economies more interrelated than ever… point being: pressures are increasing, conditions becoming harder. Nonetheless, this nation has creativity, enough individualism and ambition to drive innovation forward and foresee opportunities. To take advantage of opportunities. What will the U.S. economy look like 10, 20 years from now? What will its major growth drivers be? What attributes will the "successful business (wo)man" in 2020 have? What will it take to get access to capital? I have no idea.[Maybe as little as an Apple logo...just kidding!]
While crises seem to be escalating globally and nationally spanning from health care to unemployment and debt, one has to believe that things will eventually fall back into an equilibrium. Maybe the bottom has to fall out, the splendor and waste fall away... back to the basics. It is hard to imagine a United States where "bigger is not better", where progress and innovation are not supported and driven forward. Truth is: We need you entrepreneurs! Go forth and innovate. Move our country forward and defend its relevance in the global economy!