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Friday, October 3, 2008

The Future Of Small Business .... Doom and Gloom Or What?

Each year it seems harder for small businesses to stay afloat. Many spaces in strip malls and other shopping centers seem vacant. However, the big companies, like Wal-Mart, seem to be staying busy if not getting busier.

For the average startup, it is impossible to compete with large businesses that have power to negotiate deals. When given a choice of picking a new small business to shop at and a large established business, most seem to choose to later. This is understandable, given that they know the business and may be able to find good bargains. Meanwhile, many workers get paid the minimum while the "big heads" get richer and richer.

So what future is there for small businesses?

How can they compete with the big companies with today's poor economy and inability to get a loan?

Does the system favor those who work for SOMEONE as opposed to working for YOURSELF?

There may be good news and bad for small business in the coming years say some. The next 10 years will tell for sure but local (small) business may be about to boom. The cost of oil will continue to go up as production declines. China, US and Russia are in a race to lock up existing oil reserves for themselves which will likely affect global trade. A general lack of fuel in the market at ever escalating prices .... and a crumbling infrastructure .... will make it near impossible to transport goods across country and globally. Which will drive local production of essential goods again.

Some say we will have to walk or bike to work too ... and learn how to grow food in our back yards in collaboration with our neighbors. If this is true then Wal-Mart and their like will be the first to fall.

Personally I believe it's wide open for any size business really, whether that's an individual consulting business or something much larger. I've always believed that you need strive to be the best in your field. Deep understanding of your market, a thirst for information and new direction, and treating people as you yourself wish to be treated are all elements that drive success. Naturally, things like making good decisions and following your instincts are key too.

Its never been easy to run a small business. In the past 80% of small businesses failed in the first 2 years. It just happens faster today.

Our free market system will always have room for well run small businesses. It requires starting with a good concept, having a plan, finding a good location and managing the business by the plan.

I believe you will have good business if you are a bankruptcy attorney, a property manager, or do home repairs. There will be all kinds of opportunities that precipitate from the $700 billion bailout. You just gotta get creative.

In short, opportunities surround us. You just have to see them and make the right ones happen once you've calculated the potential risk and reward. And, hopefully, luck is on your side too.

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