In 1998, I began predicting that the 21st century would be the century of the entrepreneur. And every year that goes by proves that my prophecy was accurate. Even with all of the unfortunate economic conditions we’ve endured the past year or so, I still believe that whatever the economic recovery looks like, it will be led by small businesses to a much greater degree than big businesses. Here are just a few reasons:
1. Entrepreneurs are pathological optimists and, as such, refuse to have their dreams suppressed for very long by the upwind quadrant of an economic cycle.
2. Small businesses can recover from a downturn more quickly to redirect and redeploy their business models in a way that is customized to fit what the new marketplace demands.
3. Technological innovations continue to incrementalize powerful tools and applications which give small businesses the ability to compete at higher levels, for higher stakes and with less overhead per dollar of opportunity.
4. In a world where credit and capital acquisition are part of the recovery challenges, small businesses can still get the money needed to capitalize growth plans because the financial instruments they require are not very big or complicated, and often fulfilled by an independent community bank.
5. In the future, customers will want more connection and less marketing. Small businesses don’t have big marketing budgets but have always been the world’s gurus at connecting with customers. But now, with the growth and maturing of low-cost online customer communities (a.k.a social media), its advantage: small business.
I could go on, but you get the picture. And remember, what’s good for small business is good for the world.
Someone who agrees with me about the impact entrepreneurs will make on our future economic success is Carl Lavin, Managing Editor at Forbes, who set out to find the small businesses that will be among those to lead the U.S. into the coming expansion. Out of thousands considered, Carl and his crew picked what they call America’s Most Promising Companies for 2009.
Here is a link to this group of America’s finest, which hail from all over the country and represent a wide variety of industries. Brett Nelson, Entrepreneurs Editor at Forbes.com, has done a great job of turning information about these 20 companies into valuable resources for you. Check it out.
Carl is also a member of my Brain Trust and, recently, he joined me on my small business radio program, The Small Business Advocate Show, to talk about what you and I can learn from these companies. Take a few minutes to listen and, of course, be sure to leave your thoughts. Listen Live! Download, Too!