Entrepreneurs still finding opportunity in struggling economy


I have been stunned by how many people believe that today it’s too hard to be successful as an entrepreneur in your own business. I remember reading a quote from Bernie Marcus (one of the founders of Home Depot who has since become a billionaire) to the effect that he could never have that level of success today starting from scratch.

I respectfully disagree with him and everyone else who has that attitude. Why am I so confident? I give you one simple example: Groupon.

Groupon is a combination of a social network, local marketing and discounts that emerged from nothing to the point that they could afford to turn down a $6 billion acquisition offer from Google. In a similar vein, you could point to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, a billionaire himself. 

You could say, “Well, that’s Internet and Internet.” But it’s happening in so many other fields too. Technology has made it easier to get into a field with a traditional physical business. Even in a crowded field, it turns out there’s still opportunity for one more.

For example, The Baltimore Sun reports there’s a company called Chewpons that’s emerged to super-serve those who want daily deals exclusively on local restaurants. Now, Chewpons may work or it may not down the road. But they’re proving you can make a viable go of it right now as an entrepreneur.

I ride around town and see a lot of vacant shopping centers. There’s one near me that was looking run down before somebody bought it and dressed it back up. They put a nice new front on it and it now looks to be 90% leased. Entrepreneurs are moving in with new restaurants, new service businesses, even a new shoe store.

The point is that in this era, maybe more so than in recent times, there’s more potential for success because everything you need to launch a business costs less. Space, labor and equipment all come at a discount.

Yes, the economy went through a rough cycle. But here’s the stunner: I just saw the stats and the U.S. economy is now larger today than before the Great Recession began more than 3 years ago. So yes, there have been tough times and some people have had their financial standing eradicated. But the opportunity is still there for you to go out and earn a living as an entrepreneur.

I started my travel agency business back during a recession in 1981. At that time, we actually had higher unemployment than we have today. So many people told me I was a fool to go into business then, that I was crazy. Turns out I was crazy like a fox, and you can be too.

  • Show Comments Hide Comments