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Working for yourself
Our Managing Partner describes an example of entrepreneurship creating jobs in a downturn, which also contains points for anyone considering the self employed route.
Entrepreneurship does create new job opportunities during a downturn, although it takes on a slightly different perspective. Losing the security of a salary and the 'feeling of belonging' to an organisation, the risk-taking constituent of being an entrepreneur is truly tested; it becomes personal. Time and investment comes from where it hurts most, not from corporate finances.
People who lose their jobs often suffer from a sense of grief, not just the salary and personal stress, but the loss of colleagues, the comfort of being accepted as part of a team, the loss of identity and brand.
Changing from employment to a start-up business is not easy. Some brilliant and experienced business people go it alone without being prepared for that 'alone' element and struggle to adjust. Fuelled by enthusiasm they rarely expect the baptism by fire. It's a lonely place to be when experiencing shock and a steep learning curve. There are enough statistics to show the failure rate.
A downturn offers new opportunities and there are many cases of entrepreneurs who in the face of adversity succeed and prosper, and long may they do so. Just one example is the entrepreneur running a London-based support organisation set up in 1984, publishing and distributing essential business tips and techniques to managing directors. In the recession around 1990, he grasped an opportunity that could only have been brought about by such a downturn. He trained and connected experienced business people looking for work, to advise and provide small business owners with much needed practical hands-on assistance.
The opportunity was offered to other entrepreneurs. Since 1991, thousands* of people around the world have taken the leap of faith to become self-employed independent advisors, trained and accredited by the Institute for Independent Business. (* over six thousand as of 2010).
Accreditation may provide them a brand, but the real shot in the arm is a) an extranet, b) a hotbed of opportunities and requests for assistance, and c) the camaraderie of fellow Associates. Regional groups run by Associates for Associates provide CPD, business opportunities, and that all-important team spirit and sense of belonging.
As a result their clients who are entrepreneurs and countless owner managers world-wide, have benefitted from that recession, as well as the countless jobs saved in those businesses that have been helped over the years. The model has been emulated several times. Had it not been for that recession which created large numbers of executives looking for non-existent jobs, and small businesses suffering and trying to weather the storm, none of this would have happened.
Those who have lost jobs should explore setting up their own business especially if they have a passion for it; be they artisan or advisor, online of offline, local or international. But they must assess if they have the capability for being their own boss, apart from the right skills and experience, right product and a market to thrive in. It's not easy to get a new business off the ground, even for an experienced business executive. It takes determination, passion, a bit of luck and boundless energy. It takes resilience and courage. It requires skills and experience to develop the proposition, contacts and resources to help make it happen, and importantly self-discipline and self-belief.
With a good proposition, a network of support and true inter-active collaboration, a positive attitude and self belief, the entrepreneurial spirit has proven to create new job opportunities during a down-turn, and continues to do so. Long live the entrepreneurial spirit!
© Feb 2009, Martin Ramsden. This article expresses the views of Martin Ramsden, and not necessarily those of Capitis Business Solutions.
How this came about:
The Chief Knowledge Officer (KS Rajasekar) of midcareers.com asked this question:
Is entrepreneurship the answer to loss of jobs and the downturn?
The example quoted in this article is real. A Fellow of the Institute, our Managing Partner is rather passionate about this subject. He describes how the Institiute for Independent Business became a training and accreditation organisation, changing the lives of entrepreneurs and their clients for the better.
This also describes the issues of working for oneself, as well as entrepreneurship making a difference in a downturn.
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