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June 17, 2002) -  It's a fascinating process to watch. An entrepreneur, usually driven by the idea that her employer is screwing things up and missing opportunity, leaves the fold and opens her small business. Long days and a deep financial pinch accompany the question of how to develop the product while developing customers to buy it. Day by day, progress is made and the first sale happens. Each cycle of the development of a business begins with terror and uncertainty that can only be tamed by facing them directly and chipping away.

The work takes precedence, although cash flow is a strong second. More often than not (and in spite of strong advice), she pays her staff while deferring her paycheck. Kids suffer, the spouse gets irritated, the social life disappears. Often, because she is the way that her family and company faces the world, she takes the fear that would cripple another and transfers it to other areas. She probably develops acute claustrophobia or acrophobia. She remains focused and continues to face the fears that jeopardize her systems.

And then one day, she looks under her desk and discovers that she has created capital. Somehow, in spite of the vagaries of the cash flow, the huge mistakes and the disappointments, her company is somehow worth something. You cannot touch the capital and you can not see it. But, you can do many things with it.

This is the process that fundamentally separates small businesses from large. The little ones create capital, often accidentally. The large ones can only multiply it. It is surprisingly misunderstood, especially by investors, who work in big companies. Capital is created out of thin air by focusing on fear and facing it directly.

Small businesses are not only responsible for the bulk of job creation, they build the capital basis for our economy. The last time we left a recession behind was the foundation moment for the web itself. If you've been around long enough, you'll remember that the path was defined by small businesses. Big companies were late adopters (with a few high-tech exceptions). The early job board business was founded on the backs of small, independent staffing and search companies. Millions were earned by early entrepreneurs who, like the woman in our opening fable, just went to work using the tools they found.

We wonder if the mass migration towards the Fortune 2500 by established players (in response to the recession) doesn't clear the playing field for the next wave of entrepreneurs. From here, we can see the shape and position of the next tool set. Yet, it seems beyond the imaginings of the incumbents. We recommend watching the moves of vendors, who are popping up to serve the independents. 

 -John Sumser


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Materials written by John Sumser © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.
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         Materials written
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         © TwoColorHat.
         All Rights Reserved.