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 Most People Say Starting a Business is Too "Risky."

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Victor Quinn
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PostSubject: Most People Say Starting a Business is Too "Risky."   12/20/2010, 16:09

by Victor Quinn, Sr. Partner, Quinn & Deluca, LLC Tax and Accounting Professionals

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In the US, while the overall unemployment rate hovers around 10%, if you used the same record-keeping used in the 1930's, the actual rate is closer to 17% and unemployment among 18-24 year olds is just shy of 30%, with college graduates so not-in-demand that they are being forced to move back in with their parents and default on student loans in record numbers. Scary, right?
The mantra of "work hard, stay in school, get good grades to get a job," seems to be antiquated.
The Internet is full of "career experts" still advising us on how to "improve" our job search efforts and to validate our diplomas by sending out countless resumes, one must ask: Where have these people been the last three years?!

How much longer are we going to pretend that there are "shovel-ready" jobs? That good paying jobs are going to miraculously appear with this tax cut or that bail out? How much longer are we going to delude ourselves into believing that outsourcing, chronic recession, uncertainty and ineffectual higher education haven't forever changed our world?
Even though it is not debatable that the glad-handing, resume-driven, sweat-equity ethic of the baby-boomers is old hat, people are still hesitant, or outright opposed to pushing entrepreneurship as a viable alternative to pursue.



Why? Because conventional wisdom says starting a business is too "risky."

There is inherent risk in any startup, new venture, not just business, but life itself. However, in this economy, there is just as much — if not more — risk in simply sending out countless resumes or under-employing oneself just to make ends meet.
Whereas an entrepreneur's risk can be mitigated, and in many instances controlled (e.g. scaling, selling, outsourcing, etc.), what exactly can a full-time job-seeker do other than sit around and wait? Are the un- or underemployed not taking a risk with their financial futures every time they decide to spend more time, energy and resources on trying to fight their way into a system where they have absolutely no control or ownership?

Think about it. If you were in a casino with your friend and he was losing his shirt at the craps table, wouldn't you try to get him to walk away and make a better decision with what he had left? Why isn't that same mindset applied to failed job searches? Why aren't we telling more people to walk away and take a different approach? I have yet to figure out what compels people to still tout a broken system as the only practical solution. Nor do I understand how is it possible that the passive approach (e.g. sending resumes and hoping for the best) is widely considered to be less risky than the proactive one (e.g. starting a business for oneself)? Are people simply too afraid to let go of the 'mantra' and try something new?


This outdated, fear-ridden logic gets job-seekers nowhere. Times have changed, and so must the advice we offer so as to empower he workforce, so that they can be fully equipped to meet the new challenges, demands and harsh realities of the new economy — and the new world.

It's time we get our heads out of the sand and realize we all need a new direction.
Whether we like it or not, the new economy has made it abundantly clear that in today's world, we all will need to create a job to keep a job. It is never too late to retrain ourselves to become self-sufficiency experts capable of generating our own incomes. To our detractors who will undoubtedly say "not everyone is capable of being an entrepreneur" or "small businesses fail at alarming rates and aren't advisable out of the gate", I say to you: "What's your solution?" Keep flooding the ever-diminishing job market with resumes? Tell our well-educated population to under-employ themselves to the point of poverty? If we waste our most valuable assets — time and energy — on "real" jobs that barely make ends meet, what does it say about our resolve?

I find these scenarios to be much riskier propositions than starting a business — especially the sort of businesses that provide needed, even basic services. There are too many Cubicle Generals and not enough factory soldiers. The ladder of success must become the eight-foot ladder of a construction worker. Rather than hitting the books, we should be hammering nails.

The key to success is to start building the next generation of practical, nuts-and-bolts, low overhead, income-generating businesses. Not Facebook, but pool cleaning companies. Not Google, but tutoring services. These sorts of ventures will allow us to minimize risk, while simultaneously affording us the opportunity to take control of our financial futures.

A Sergeant serving alongside me, wise beyond his young years, said not all transitioning individuals, former military or college graduate or layed-off factory worker wants to be an entrepreneur. They like taking orders and knowing exactly what is expected of them without having to initiate the process.
The question is, do the rest of us have what it takes to tune out the noise, take stock of the situation, determine the risk and implement the process? It is up to us to take it upon ourselves to generate the jobs that provide the controlled structure for those who look to our vision to lead the way.
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