Here are some questions every worker in the United States (and abroad) should be asking themselves.
► When is it a good time to become and entrepreneur?
► Should I risk becoming an entrepreneur?
► Why become and entrepreneur?
► Do I have a choice?
Mighty strong questions; worth answering candidly, don’t you think? Let’s explore why not, why now, why you.
The stock market is down, unemployment at near record high. The value of the American dollar is questionable. Massive layoffs in nearly every sector of the marketplace are routine. Today’s economic condition has turned conventional wisdom about the corporate scene completely on its proverbial head. No longer is “Job Security” any kind of reality, even though some say security comes from within, not from a job. Security is something that you either have internally, or you don’t believe it to be true. Well, my friend, I can tell you that one thing is certain. In the last 70 plus years, nothing short of a total economic meltdown has been worse for the economy than the “Recession” we now face. The crash of 2008 will be remembered as the Great Opportunity for those that have their wits about them, their eye fixed on the target and their heads on straight.
In the Great Depression of the early last century, more millionaires were made than at any time in history, and the same will be true in 2018. People that take advantage of the opportunity to innovate and create will be the next batch of millionaires that made their fortune after the crash of 2008.
Question one asks “when will the time be right to take the risk of entrepreneurship?”
The time is now, for several reasons. First, there has been an overdue period of more than 15 years that America became unconcerned about technological advancements, and settled for the status quo. Instead of investing in new technologies that could streamline manufacturing or services, corporations took the easy route and raised their prices to as high as the market would bear. No truer industry to work under this delusion was the housing industry. In 1995 at $200,000 house was a nice house, with all the features most Americans wanted and/or needed. With rate adjustments from the FED, interest rates became low enough to spark new home sales at a ridiculous rate, so much so that the $200, 000 home became a $400,000 home. The housing boom, as it was called, drove would-be investors into a frenzy, and easy lending practices helped stimulate new buyers into the market that really were not qualified buyers. But the banking regulators didn’t see it any other way than to drive new business, stating, “it’s good for the economy.”
In the movie Wall Street, Michael Douglas’ character was quoted as saying, “Greed is Good.” Twelve years later, in the sequel, Wall Street, Money Never Sleeps, his character states, “When I went to prison Greed was Good, Now It’s Legal!” Film imitating life!
Well, it was a short-lived “good spell” because as soon as foreign investments collapsed, much the same way as they did in 1997, the money dried up just as bundles of new loans were being sold to them. With the lack of investors on the wholesale side, the retail market began to falter, eventually collapsing in 2008. Foreclosures of “bad loans” ran rampant, depleting the financial reserves of the same institutions that greedily took advantage of the surge, and brought upon wide-spread panic. Thus, the Great Recession of 2008 came to be. Housing prices fell to nearly half, or what I feel is pretty close to real value, and lending sources needed bailing out by the government. Even though Congress gave the lending institutions new cash, no one could get a loan, due to excessive risk. To this date, these banks that got trillions in free cash, are hanging on to it and not providing much-needed lending to qualified homeowners, entrepreneurs and emerging enterprises. What’s a poor citizen to do?
Another reason the time is now. The massive layoffs of 2008 should have been naturally occurring in reasonable amounts annually since 1995, but corporations didn’t replace bodies with technology, and took a status quo outlook. Had there been routine down-sizing, right sizing or what ever title you want to give it, those individuals could have been retrained into another job, or better yet, gone out and developed new products and services for the public to sink their available cash into. But they didn’t; the layoffs all hit at one time. Now what to do?
The country, and the world for that matter, is crying out for new, green technology, and the demand will generate itself if the advances in products and services make someone’s life better, or the Earth more Green as a result of the new products or services.
Besides, every corporation on the face of the planet is trying to take itself apart, one person at a time and attempting to find a way to maximize output without the use of the same headcount as they have today. It began a long time ago; this is not a new concept. IBM, who at one time housed a huge consulting department, with thousands of individual specialists, were dismantled and shrunk on purpose, yet didn’t lose a single dollar in revenue. In order to mobilize for a particular consulting project, it would take a minimum of say, $250,000, to start-up a project, regardless of size. It is known as Mobilization Cost. Each specialty that was needed had to be dedicated to the project, budgeted for and included in the total estimate, presented to the client, and executed. Most small businesses found that number obscene. Along came the answer.
Instead of keeping all of those specialists, they performed layoffs of the majority of the consultants, yet kept them on as “independent consultants” to be called upon whenever there was work. Picture a circle, with lots of little circles around it, lines attached. What might resemble a wheel and spoke, the Galaxy Model was perfect. People could develop other clients as they liked, yet had the reassurance of occasional work at IBM. Both parties won. Specialists were brought into a project as they were needed, and the client always maintained control of the expense, having the opportunity to price out each specialty as was required.
Corporate America is not stupid, so neither should you be. Someone in the next office is doing everything they can to eliminate you and your position to save money, bring in technology to lower the headcount, and streamline the company. If you don’t think the time is now, rethink your conclusion.
Questions two and three are infinitely easier to answer. Should you, or should you not risk becoming an entrepreneur? And, “Why should I become an entrepreneur?”
First, it is my estimation that you probably won’t have a choice; it is just a matter of time. Corporations will continue to shrink, regardless of industry. The service sector may be more resilient than others, but any industry based on a labor source will find ways through technology to do the same or better with robots, computer program, artificial intelligence, or some other technological advancement. The risk is waiting too long to decide. Once you are eliminated, your chances of reemployment at the same pay scale are dismal. To further that argument, the older the workforce, the less likely reemployment will occur at all. Entrepreneurship no longer is a risky decision; it may be the only decision.
To say that your position is secure and that you will never suffer downsizing or layoff would be facetious. Unless you are a nuclear scientist working on new technology, or are a neurosurgeon, your job is at risk.
You should think heavily about becoming an entrepreneur while you still have a choice, for all the reasons stated and more. The cry for new products and services, especially those that improve the planet or people’s individual lives will be embraced by the masses. It is already evident that there are sectors in the Green industry that are booming, and the call for greater availability of said products will garner demand.
What holds most people back from risk taking are two simple concepts: Fear and Atmosphere. That is to say, people fear the unknown, they fear failure, and the air around them would be subject to change. All can be overcome.
Question four is redundant. Of course you have a choice. Risk and Return; the common economic equation. But why not take control of your individual situation before you are forced to by negative circumstances?
I am not advising anyone to drop what they are doing and quit their job to become an inventor, scientist or gadget man. What I am trying to get across is that the world has changed back to when this country was first formed. In order to be in control of their own destiny, our Founding Fathers built and entire country; including all of the laws and governing instruments, so as not to be under the yoke of another force. They demanded independence so that they could live their lives the way they saw fit.
We are at that same crossroads today.
The author is stating his opinion on this matter. This is not to be considered legal or financial advice. Consult an attorney or licensed financial planner for professional advice.
For additional entrepreneur and emerging enterprise information from this author, see the blog entitled The Over-Caffeinated Entrepreneur at http://www.theovercaffeinatedentrepreneur.wordpress.com