“I would argue 2004 was a great year to be an entrepreneur,” says Michael Alter, president of SurePayroll. “In 2005, everything just stopped.”
Last year saw rising interest rates, energy prices and inflation that forced firms to absorb sizable cost increases without raising prices. And health-care costs continued to rise at a breakneck pace.
Entrepreneurs aren’t getting lazy–they’re just more cautious. An annual November survey by Houston-based professional employer organization Administaff revealed a significant drop in the number of entrepreneurs expecting their companies to grow in 2006. “What we’re seeing now is a confluence of more fear and anxiety about the stability of the economy,” says Debra Condren, founder of Business Psychology Solutions, an executive coaching firm with offices in New York City and San Francisco. Uncertainty, Condren says, “creates an environment for the entrepreneur where risk taking seems even more risky.”
You can’t rest on your laurels. You can’t assume large companies aren’t able to act entrepreneurially. Most important, you can’t stop taking chances. The next rush of risk-takers will share the same personality traits, Condren says, including a strong stomach for uncertainty, internal motivation and a willingness to keep fighting. “They don’t give up in spite of failures,” she says. And if you’re going to lead the fight in this economy, you’ll have to kick it up a notch.
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Becky started Small Biz Survival in 2006 to share rural business and community building stories and ideas with other small town business people. She and her husband have a small cattle ranch and are lifelong entrepreneurs. Becky is an international speaker on small business and rural topics.