Sobering Thoughts for the Small Business

“This is shaping up to be the longest recession the UK has ever experienced” shouted the headline of The New Statesman, published October 28, 2011.

That statement is just one of many alarming views out there. We now see that it is not only the proverbial “Us economy” that is a problem, and not to mention the Euro zone! The prospects seem dire because some persons believe that what we are experiencing is not a usual recession, as bad as that can be, but a contraction, which really takes us beyond the typical year or two of negative growth and which requires a longer recovery period.

So how will this affect small businesses?

The impact has already been felt in faraway places like Jamaica as we have experienced a reduction of purchasing power, reduction in loans and grant funding for small business assistance in some areas and a general malaise that may affect the motivation to get into business. But this goes against the tide of job losses and the subsequent need for persons to become more entrepreneurial.

Many will make a big effort to get some cash and make the plunge into their own small business. While this may not be optional, gone are the days when large investments come, say a bauxite plant, and people simply respond by setting up little shops and other micro-businesses to provide service to resulting community that is created. Now, opportunities have to be created and innovation will be the name of the game.

In companies of any size the current climate requires astute business strategies. They do not have to be elaborate but there has to be purpose and alignment because there is now less room for errors. And the implications may be hard for the small business that had borrowed or mortgaged via difficult circumstances in order to make the plunge.

And idea of making the plunge is correct! The venture into business can lead to much struggle, pain and stress. The small business person can be drained of energy, spirit and finances, and end up in deep depression. Failure rates in business start-ups are high and the statistics can be a deterrent. So, how can we avoid this?

We need to adjust how we see business and their operators, how we train business people and get a shift that addresses the challenges. If between 70 and 80% of businesses fail in the first two years, that statistic indicate the challenge. And according to Inc Magazine of April 2011 while training focuses on textbook issues of finance, strategy and innovation, 60% of businesses fail because of “people” problems.

Who are these people and why this anomaly? They are you and me who go into business! It is no wonder that MBA graduates do not seem to have a better prospect at running their own businesses. What I have found, as depicted in my book, The Small Business Survival Guide – Insights into the First Two Years, is that the small business person needs to have spherical insights into a lot of things simultaneously, as opposed to being linearly good at one thing like marketing, accounting, operations, etc.

This brings a new dimension to many persons and the demands can be too hard for some. There is no magic but what I term a strategic business coach can make a difference. With limited and dwindling resources the new approach has to minimize errors and waste. Also, included in the new way must be attention to reducing stress and achieving greater satisfaction from the venture.

The necessary process of alignment is therefore important and current and prospective business people should make the effort to improve their success and satisfaction in what may be their only option to make a living if they own a business, want to own a business, or are even thinking they might want to start something for some extra part-time income.

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About Alrick Robinson

Alrick Robinson is the Best-Selling Author of The Small Business Survival Guide: Insights into the First Two Years & Business Coach. I invite you to download a FREE Report "7 Signs You Should Explore Running Your Own Business" Plus a Surprise Bonus! at this link - You may also visit my blog at where I share small business resources and survival tips weekly.

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