Archive for June, 2009

Irresponsibility Is Out. Doing It Right Is In.

Monday, June 29th, 2009 by Clyde A. Lettsome, PhD, PE

It is traditional American thinking to believe that bigger is better. We believe the more grandiose our cars, our homes, our clothes, and even our relationships, the better we have managed to do for ourselves. If we do not have the biggest and the “best” then we feel worthless, and it is unfortunate that we have tied expressiveness to our self worth. We live in a society in which what is appropriate for us and for our current circumstance is never enough: we always want more. We want what we want, when we want it, and we want it because we think we deserve it. This attitude and approach has led us into the current economic situation. This mentality has had both a direct and indirect affect on the how soon we (the country and our economy) will be able to bounce back and which individuals will have survived the downfall.

So what have we and can we, as entrepreneurs, learn from this economic downturn? Losing site of your spending may make you lose site of the real goal. If you are the type of entrepreneur that likes paying for aesthetics or things that may give you a good feeling, please, spend more time assessing your possible purchases. Always consider the return on your investment. Always consider whether the purchase is right for you at this current time. If these items will not return all that you will invest and more, consider either not getting them or, at least, delaying the purchase to a later time. Aesthetically pleasing buildings, products, and fancy systems may not be necessary if your company does not need it, if it does not have a great return, and most importantly, if you cannot afford it. Save that money for hard times to come. Remember survival profitability should be your main goal.

Despite the grim outlook, I do have faith in this country and the entrepreneurs in it. This country is known for its resilient people. Many of those who did make mistakes will bounce back and learn to operate within their means and be more responsible. If you are a small business owner and were one of those that operated your business above your means, you must be among those that learn from your mistakes. You not only have to learn, but you have to learn quickly because the small business owner is the backbone of this country representing 99.7 percent of the businesses and employing 50.6% of private sector workers according to the Small Business Association. Our country is depending on us.

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