Experience Necessary in Starting a Business

Jim Blasingame

The U.S. Small Business Administration estimates that approximately 800,000 new small businesses are started every year. The SBA further predicts that by 2010, this number will reach 1 million start-ups annually. Whew!

If you’re like me, you believe that small business proliferation is a good thing. But as exciting as these numbers are, unfortunately, they also come with a dark reality that must now be revealed.

A tragically high percentage of new small business owners have absolutely no idea of what they’re getting into, because they think business ownership requires no prior background, education, or experience.

Want to know my definition of “tragically high percentage?” A Dun & Bradstreet statistic shows that more than half of all new businesses are out of business by the end of the fourth year. Any questions?

After years of contemplating this issue, I believe the reason for this dangerous condition is this: many people think being a business owner is like being a consumer or an employee.

America is nothing if not a consumer nation. And American customers are notoriously pampered and spoiled. When we buy stuff we have every expectation that our experience will either be perfect the first time, or if not, will be fixed to our satisfaction immediately.

One thing small business owners learn really fast is that we’re neither pampered nor spoiled. In fact, it often seems that we’re the stepchildren of the marketplace.

When the red gets licked off of our lollypop, we can’t throw a fit and get it fixed. We have to fix it ourselves, with our money and resources.

If you’re thinking of starting a business, have you thought about this?

Employees expect to be given a place to work, the tools they need, cool in the summer, warm in the winter, vacations, days off, sick days, all the benefits they can eat, and payroll checks delivered on time, every time.

As employers, we’re the ones responsible for providing all of the things mentioned above. If you’re a prospective entrepreneur, do you know and understand this?

Consider other disciplines. No one wakes up on Monday morning, decides to become a brain surgeon, and by Friday is one. It takes years, indeed decades, of education, training, and experience. Even a commercial truck driver has to train for and pass a multi-part test to be able to transport America’s products over the road.

The fact that anyone in America can start a business is at once one of our most precious attributes and one of our most dangerous conditions.

It’s precious because the U.S. entrepreneurial economy is the envy of the world. But it’s dangerous when it fosters the notion that being a business owner requires little or no professional preparation.

Just like becoming a brain surgeon or truck driver, business success requires education, experience and training.

Write this on a rock… If you don’t have time to prepare for successful ownership, how much time do you have for failure?

Jim Blasingame
Small Business Expert and host of The Small Business Advocate Show
©2008 All Rights Reserved

Print page