Mom and Pop Startups

The ambitions may have changed but reality hasn’t.

More first-time entrepreneurs have grander plans than those of the past. Gone is the desire to simply create a job for themselves or a small business that employs a few people. Today’s first-timers believe they can build the next Facebook, Starbucks, or Subway, and that’s good. Entrepreneurs need vision, ambition, and BHAGs. There’s nothing we can do – or should do – to temper their energy and enthusiasm.

Instead, the rest of us need to temper our collective hope and expectations. The vast majority of companies in the U.S. still have fewer than ten employees, and those segments are also where the least amount of growth has been (for detailed numbers, visit YourEconomy).

We’re only five years since the beginning of a recession that who knows lasted how long. We’re in the midst of a head-scratching government shutdown that will have more economic impact than people realize. And the truth of the matter is that most startups fail, and those that do survive tend to become small businesses not high-growth enterprises.

Let’s encourage entrepreneurial activity for the sake of innovation, competition, learning, and sheer joy. Let’s also just remember that it’s much easier to start a company than it is to run, grow, and keep one alive.