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Not so fast, Martha Stewart.
OK, you're special. You are talented and one of the best at what you do. But that doesn't mean that you're equipped to run your own business--even one within a field or industry you've been working in or following for years.
To wit: 627,200 new businesses opened in the U.S. in 2008--the same year 595,600 businesses shuttered and 43,546 filed for bankruptcy, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Likewise, 30% of small businesses fail within the first two years and half close shop within five years, according to the SBA.
The fact of the matter is that far too many people launch their own companies for all the wrong reasons and without the tools it takes to succeed. Before handing in your notice and signing a lease on an office, it's imperative you take a hard look at yourself in the salaried eye and ask yourself a few critical questions that could mean the difference between a fulfilling life as your own boss and speed-dialing a bankruptcy lawyer.
Who is the real entrepreneur? What does it mean to be self-employed? Dane Stangler examines this question and what it means to be an entrepreneur during these tumultuous economic times.
At the University of Miami a few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend an entrepreneurship class with roughly 40 students. Most of them were juniors and seniors, joined by a small number of law students. The course had so far covered the theoretical literature on entrepreneurship, but on this particular day all the students wanted to talk about was their own futures.
Some people are born rich, but it is the self-made billionaires who inspire people more than anybody else. While most entrepreneurs won’t end up in the 10-digit club, there are lessons to be taken from these elites.
It sounds like a privacy breach waiting to happen: Take some of your company's most classified information — employee records containing Social Security numbers, salaries — and put it on a bunch of remote servers that let you access the data via the public Internet.
With pink-slip taxes increasing, more small-business owners may be motivated to appeal claims for unemployment benefits filed by former employees who quit or were fired for cause—but such appeals can sometimes backfire.
U.S. employers are required to make regular tax contributions toward unemployment insurance. They're taxed at a rate that varies by state and the size of their payroll. That rate can increase as a business lays off more employees.
After the recent "48 Hour Launch" weekend that drew more than five dozen participants, eight new companies now dot the city's small-business landscape.
The third annual event, sponsored by LaunchMemphis, replaced the organization's former Startup Weekend program. Interest in the program easily surpassed previous incarnations, leaders said, and the number of viable companies was nearly triple that of last year.
Perhaps no other country celebrates innovation the way America does.
This passion for inventions started early in our history. Did you know that George Washington signed the First U.S. Patent Grant on July 31, 1790, and the patent examiner was none other than Thomas Jefferson? (Thank you, Google (GOOG)!) In America, we're reminded of the life-changing power of inventiveness every day. Some of the greatest inventors of yesterday spawned the greatest brands of today. What do the names Chrysler, Coleman, Goodyear (GT), Campbell (CPB), Colt, and Edison mean to you? Cars, tents, tires, soup, guns, and the electric lightbulb, of course.
More and more successful companies are taking a holistic approach to serve specific market niches or verticals. Instead of offering a broad-based horizontal solution that may service a larger market, but require more customization and will likely involve competition from larger players, these companies are finding success 'below the radar' by staying focused on a narrower segment.
With the recent opening of Ottawa’s newest co-working space, the city might be seeing an emerging trend towards shared offices.
Currently, there are two co-working spaces: Freedom Café, which opened last month, and the Code Factory, which opened in May 2008.
I have spent the majority of my adult life investing my own and other people's money in entrepreneurs. That's why I know the U.S. has a serious problem on its hands.
Although the stock market has tentatively rebounded, funding for the one area in which America has a distinct competitive advantage--that is, new company formation--is in scary decline. That may be a familiar refrain by now, but that doesn't make the ramifications any less real. Or less dangerous.
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