As a college student, I recall listening to an entrepreneur tell his story of being unexpectedly laid off at the height of his career. He detailed his shock and feelings of inadequacy and desperation, and how this life-changing circumstance ultimately led him to start his own business. Despite his self-doubts, fears and tears, this gentleman grew his tiny venture into a multi-million dollar business that he and his partner sold seven years later for $100 million. There are many who travel the road of entrepreneurship and experience similar results. But there are plenty who don’t.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) reports 50% of small businesses fail within five years of launch. Starting a business is no easy path. However, the potential rewards of starting a business are too great to ignore. One of my favorite quotes perfectly sums up why so many are crazy enough to give business ownership a try: “Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won’t, so that you can live the rest of your life like most people can’t (unattributed).” Other than wealth potential, entrepreneurship offers work that is satisfying. It affords independence to further one’s passions and develop leadership ability, and space to make one’s own decisions. It gives small business owners the opportunity to create value in other people’s lives and give back in ways that may not be available otherwise. In graduate school, one of my colleagues shared a concept that has greatly influenced my life and how I now define success. He believed once you are no longer able to determine whether you’re at work or at play because you love everything you do, you have found your life’s meaning and purpose. I believe entrepreneurship is one of the few ways to accomplish this. If people are willing to make a few sacrifices and dedicate themselves to learning and doing what it takes to run a successful business, the possibilities are endless.
My call to individuals everywhere is to become more in sync with their passions and strengths and discover how those translate into market opportunity. There are a plethora of available resources, many of which are free, to help you in your journey of business ownership. The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is one of those. At no cost, entrepreneurs and small business leaders can meet with knowledgeable and experienced management consultants as much as needed to help them weave through the twists and turns of business ownership. Likewise, SCORE, SBDC’s sister organization, provides expertise from volunteer retired executives. The people side of business is equally as important. Look for networking opportunities through the Ogden-Weber Chamber, Corporate Alliance, Women’s Business Center and Connect Utah. Hundreds of local small businesses are actively involved in helping each other learn and grow business. If you’re looking for capital, VentureCapital.org is a great resource that helps small businesses understand how to raise needed funds. There are numerous local lending institutions that offer small business loans, in addition to Ogden City’s Business Information Center and Utah’s Microenterprise Loan Fund. Additionally, there are also multiple organizations that offer free or low cost businesses classes including the SBDC, Weber State University, America First Credit Union, Wasatch Peaks Credit Union, Corporate Alliance, Ogden- Weber Chamber, Ogden City, and more.
Believe in yourself and what you are capable of accomplishing. Millions have already done so. Your health and prosperity - and our economy - depend on it.