Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Where is America's entrepreneurial spirit?

Is entrepreneurism dead? It might look that way right now as we see the economy collapsing around us. Risk-taking is "out." Hiding money in the mattress is "in." But we have to remember that this has happened before (and will probably happen again). It always ends the same way - with a burst of entrepreneurial energy that takes the economy and the country in new directions (and makes some tidy fortunes for those who come out on the leading edge of the revival.)

David Brooks captures this perfectly in an Op-Ed piece in the NY Times:

"...the United States will never be Europe. It was born as a commercial republic. It’s addicted to the pace of commercial enterprise. After periodic pauses, the country inevitably returns to its elemental nature.

The U.S. is in one of those pauses today. It has been odd, over the past six months, not to have the gospel of success as part of the normal background music of life. You go about your day, taking in the news and the new movies, books and songs, and only gradually do you become aware that there is an absence. There are no aspirational stories of rags-to-riches success floating around. There are no new how-to-get-rich enthusiasms. There are few magazine covers breathlessly telling readers that some new possibility — biotechnology, nanotechnology — is about to change everything. That part of American culture that stokes ambition and encourages risk has gone silent.

We are now in an astonishingly noncommercial moment. Risk is out of favor. The financial world is abashed. Enterprise is suspended. The public culture is dominated by one downbeat story after another as members of the educated class explore and enjoy the humiliation of the capitalist vulgarians.

But if there is one thing we can be sure of, this pause will not last. The cultural DNA of the past 400 years will not be erased. The pendulum will swing hard. The gospel of success will recapture the imagination."

Think about this as you sit around the kitchen table or coffee bar pondering your own future. Maybe you should be considering starting or buying a small business of your own.

Friday, March 13, 2009

First Review!

From Kirkus Discoveries, March 2009:

"Entrepreneur Blanchard presents a manual for planning, nurturing, maintaining and selling a small business, with timely advice for the current recession.

Think local, consider your values and see the world from the customer's viewpoint when planning your business, Blanchard urges. He also advises to allow sufficient time - one to three years - for thorough planning. The author reviews the risks and benefits of business ownership while stressing the need for a strategic business plan and strong leadership. A brief entrepreneurship personality assessment follows a review of personality traits that may lead to success in business ownership - such as working with ideas and numbers, being customer-oriented and an ability to prioritize. Large business has been dominant in the united States for much of the past century, and Blanchard provides a great deal of information and advice to help workers make a transition. He explains ways to pursue success in this big-business world and how to proceed in the event of failure, with notes on debt and medical insurance. The author strongly cautions entrepreneurs that years may pass until they draw a salary from their venture. He also discusses protecting the informational assets of a business when working with suppliers and others outside the company, reminding that suppliers are neither friends nor customers. Blanchard recommends tech-savvy measures like a Web interface and notes that social networking can be a useful tool. Since pricing strategies have a major impact on success, the author discusses the concepts involved in successfully entering the market. He also reviews the endpoint - offering the carefully nurtured business up for sale - and recommends methods of pricing the business. While additional tables and charts may have been useful, the text is thoroughly footnoted and includes examples and case studies. The last section addresses special concerns of small businesses during times of recession, making the book relevant to today's financial climate.

Thorough, clear and valuable information for entrepreneurs."

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Now Available!

Publication date Feb. 17, 2009 and now available through Amazon or from your local bookseller. Contains an Epilog "Can Small Business Start-ups Survive During a Financial Panic or Recession?" You can read a short excerpt using the Amazon "Look Inside" feature (http://www.amazon.com/Creating-Wealth-Small-Business-Entrepreneurs/dp/1439214581/ref=si3_rdr_bb_product).