A recent post by the New York Times inspired me to write about a topic that I have been thinking a lot about these days: mainly that there should be no excuse for the American unemployment rate to be almost 10% (the real number might be twice that!). I understand that there are big market forces at work forcing both small businesses and large corporations to reduce staff sizes. But I also understand that there are endless opportunities to create new ventures as well. My hope is to see job-seekers become job-creators.
I realize how risky it is to run a start-up. In fact, the SBA says that only 50% of businesses make it past five years. To me, though, if a start-up has a 50% chance of survival beyond five years, I say go for it! Since the corporate world doesn’t seem to be very stable either, people might as well take some ownership and control of the situation. Either way, there is some level of risk.
According to my definition of “risk,” I feel like it’s more risky to be a line item on an organization’s cash flow statement than have some significant level of control of my chosen path (to the extent which one can). While feeling “in control” is important, it’s even more important for me to be gaining skills and experience in ways that are valuable to me personally and professionally. That is where the real value is created for people struggling to find work. Even if the new venture doesn’t work, new skills and connections should have been made that make that person more hirable, or better yet, ready to start another company.
A mentor of mine, Frank Brock, said it best while encouraging me immediately following my own failed venture: “There are so many opportunities for good businesses, but when you’re not in the game, you can’t see them. When you’re in the game, you see the opportunities.”
These days, there are so many great opportunities for start-ups…so, get in the game and start something!