Entrepreneurs are again entering a time where talented people have many options as to how they invest their lives. I believe things have shifted to a time where talented people have their choice on where and with whom they work. It reminds me of the late 90s when it was an employee’s marketplace for many professional skills.
Before you start worrying about another technology bubble, I think things are different today because your best employees are no longer looking for a great place to work, rather many are considering if they should go out on their own. Smaller businesses are flatter and, many times, less impacted by accelerated growth than many tech companies experienced in the late 90s. The other thing to remember is that many larger organizations who soared during their growth phase struggled to redeploy individuals who were unable or unwilling to train in new emerging platforms.
What’s changing? In a word, technology. I recently had several great conversations with people who were sharing their business ideas with me and they were quick to point out they could start their businesses today for less than I paid to have my business cards done not so many years ago. They told me they can get almost every resource they might need for very low cost. They shared how technology costs keep coming down and they are not afraid to use open source to supply many of the applications they need. The also shared that the can get very sophisticated business apps for their phones and tablets for almost nothing. Hard to beat free until you need support or additional capabilities built into the app.
The second change is there is significant money available from angel investors who are looking to be part of the next big thing. Many of these angel investors have not seen great returns on their more conservative investments so they continue to look for ways to make up the money they lost in the last economic downtown. High performing stocks are accelerating past many of their traditional competitors and providing substantially stronger returns and the gap continues to widen. The problem for investors is separating the winners and losers in the marketplace. Many angel investors are continuing to work on new, interesting projects because they can. I would not be surprised to see many of these people work into their 70s or longer.
The third major change is many of these individuals have built significant social networks that can help provide them strong business skills for a very reasonable cost. This world continues to be a more connected place than we could have ever imagined. I get notes from many global entrepreneurs who are looking to leverage my network to help them come into the North American market. We spend 15 minutes doing a web chat and we can move very quickly if we both see a good fit.
Entrepreneurs continue to find new opportunities to create multiple streams of income for their small businesses by marketing niche driven expertise to other entrepreneurs who are trying to get a foothold in their target markets. The biggest change I see is many of these new entrepreneurs are very open to collaborating to create an outstanding experience for their clients. I’m not saying competition has gone away completely, but I find the next generation of entrepreneurs much more open to sharing their profits to accelerate growth than past generations.
So how do you attract the talent you need to your growing business? Next week, we begin sharing several ideas that help you attract, develop, and retain the key people you need to help build a successful business. See you here next week.