Entrepreneurs are National Treasures. Their Success or Failure Impacts the Nation.  

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This is part one of four pieces regarding new thinking on the nature of entrepreneurship. It’s not an attack on traditional thinking or a rebuke of agencies, educators, and accepted authorities on entrepreneurship. Instead, it’s a look into the more personal aspects of entrepreneurship and the high failure rates among business start-ups. In a nutshell, this article embraces the idea that entrepreneurs are national treasures.

Let’s begin with an often-stated statistic. At least 50% of all new businesses fail before they are five years old. For  those simply familiar with the subject, the number is expressed as a matter of fact. For those who’ve experienced start-up and failure, it’s a horrifying statement.

Impactful Numbers

Numbers rather than percentages often have greater meaning. The United States averages around 700,000 start-ups per year. At the same time, a much larger number of start-ups are in the process of failing. (50%+ of 700,000 start-ups failing intermittently and building annually.) That is a huge number by any measure. (Note: in 2010 there were an estimated 28 million small businesses in the U.S. making up over 49% of private sector employment – SBA Sept 2012).

Now, consider the amount of humanity with which we’re dealing. 700,000+ failing start-ups equal at least that many individuals failing at any given time. That population quite large. But if we include the entrepreneur’s family and/or employees, the multiples quickly become enormous. If a city of 700,000 to 5,000,000+ people was in a death grip, a state of emergency would be declared and sufficient forces would be mobilized to fix the problem or at least work on a solution. That’s not the case with our entrepreneurs and failing small businesses.

Our National Treasures go it Alone

Think about how many bank accounts are wiped out, how many families suffer, how many health problems result, and literally how many lives are lost. What is the net cost to society as a result of the problem? And finally, what are we doing about this tragedy? The answer is simple: very little. This is the reality of entrepreneurial failure versus success.This is the reality of small business start-ups. This is the reality of lost opportunities nationally.

Entrepreneurship is our economic lifeblood and the foundation of our hiring future. We take successful ventures n stride, but on an individual basis, those on the verge of failure are courageous souls who basically face the world alone. We offer great assistance to the unemployed and the needy, and that’s appropriate. But our entrepreneurs are valuable commodities that deserve our attention as well.

Next we’ll take a look at the players involved and begin to flesh out why traditional thinking needs an adjustment.

The Focus Program for Emerging Entrepreneurs is a system developed for and dedicated to those brave individuals who venture forth as entrepreneurs – our national treasures.

Part Two »