The thought of entrepreneurs being a dying breed is a terrifying notion. This country and our economic strength was built on the backs of bold entrepreneurs. It is the American dream to earn a living and make enough money to start a business, then build an empire. The dream of empire building fires the hearts of Americans and others from around the globe to put an idea into action and make it grow. But is the ability to become an entrepreneur a dying dream in the United States?
The Slow Death of Entrepreneurs
The ability to build a dream into an empire is slowly eroding away in this country. Oh, we can still dream and innovate, but the ability to pay the bills and operate a business is slipping away. Recent studies have shown that entrepreneurship in America is reducing. It has become an option only for those with higher income levels and established wealth. Part of the issue deals with the credit market. Banks are sitting on cash and are less likely to extend loans to ‘risky’ entrepreneurs. The other part of the problem is that the middle-class in America is shrinking. Data shows that the number of adults living in middle income households decreased in 203 of the 229 metropolitan areas between 2000 and 2014. The same study reported a 4% drop in middle-class income nationally during the same period, with a 6% or more in 53 of those metropolitan areas.
The middle class in America typically has the ability to support a high enough standard of living to start and invest sufficient funds to start a business. These decreases in financial sustainability reduces the number of entrepreneurs entering into the business world.
Treading Water as an Entrepreneur
Entrepreneurs must be more thoughtful and strategic when bringing their business to life. They must be much more agile when negotiating the financial markets when seeking funding. Understanding how to secure funding from non-traditional sources is crucial in today’s environment. Entrepreneurs must focus on their core values of the business and remain extremely agile when adapting to change. Their business must provide a unique solution that consumers are willing to engage. Lastly, they must grow slowly and organically. Growth must be organic, but they also must be able to take on expedited growth while assuming reasonable debt loads.
Entrepreneurship is not dead, but it is a much smaller environment and has become much risker for those without a wealth platform supporting their vision.
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