February 16, 2021

Caveat auctor, aka, seller beware


Starting a company has become thee thing to do.

It’s the default activity for today’s seekers.

Like swing dancing in the forties, belonging to a civic organization in the fifties, starting a garage band in the sixties, joining a cult in the seventies, enrolling in business school in the eighties, going to therapy in the nineties, or taking improv classes in the two thousands, every decade has its zeitgeist.

It’s simply a matter of economics and culture.

Consider the factors at play here.

We have instant connectivity, rampant globalization, resource abundance, workforce shifts, economic prosperity, funding availability and most importantly, Shark Tank.

Is it any surprise that everyone is now infected with the entrepreneur bug?

And yet, it’s seductive. The fact that it’s sexy and everyone is doing it and loving it and sharing pictures of their incredible entrepreneurial journey, that seems proof enough.

But as someone who ran a publishing business full time for many years, and then retired to enter into the corporate world, allow me to offer some perspective.

Just because some bubble has created a hugely overvalued market based on nothing more than whimsical fantasy, doesn’t mean you should start a company.

Just because you think that launching an independently run business is a viable option, doesn’t mean it makes sense in the current economic climate to do so.

Just because you have a brilliant idea and a desire to create your own schedule, doesn’t mean your enterprise will attract wealthy investors and establish a loyal consumer base.

Just because you’re passionate and smart and everyone you know is starting a business, doesn’t mean you should quit your day job tomorrow.

Statistics from the bureau of labor remind us, eighty percent of companies survive their first year in business. Sixtyish survive their second year. Half survive their fifth year. Thirty percent survive their tenth year.

Caveat emptor, the old saying meaning, buyer beware, might benefit from its opposite.

Caveat auctor. Seller beware.

Will the thrill of your passion dissipate once it becomes a daily task?

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