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19.1: Starting a Business: The Ultimate Investment

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    Are you crazy? You want to start a business?! You’ve heard the statistics: “50% of businesses fail in the first year! 80% of businesses fail in the first 5 years! 100% of businesses fail in the first 10,000 years!” The truth is that no one knows the failure rate of small businesses because no one – not even the IRS – knows how many small businesses there are! Another truth is that many small business owners often will fail 2 or 3 or more times … until they succeed. It is also the case that business owners tend to run in families. If someone is a business owner, the probability is high that their parents or other members of their extended family are business owners. Is it cultural or hereditary? That is a question that we leave to the sociologists. Can one start a business if no one in their family has ever owned a business? Certainly! There are many successful business owners who come from families with no history of owning business. The key questions is: Do you have the desire, the motivation, the energy?

    One of the best ways to increase the odds of your business succeeding in the long term is to consider franchising. Although you are unlikely to generate as much income as if you had started the business from scratch as you must share some of the revenue with the franchise, you are more likely to survive than those who do start their own businesses without the help and support of the franchising organization. Another way to help ensure success is to find a business owner who is getting ready to retire. You can begin working for that individual and learn the ropes with the idea that you will eventually purchase the business from them. In the financial world, there are tens of thousands of insurance agents and mortgage brokers and stockbrokers who are nearing or already in retirement age. You are already an Official Investment Guru. There is opportunity. Think about it!

    Some Resources Available to Potential Entrepreneurs

    Because small businesses are the backbone of our economy, there are tremendous resources available to small business owners. Don’t try to go it alone! One of the best resources is SCORE, the Service Corps of Retired Executives. Their website is This group has been around for decades. They sponsor great seminars and offer mentoring services for small business owners. Another resource that offers seminars, many of them free, is the South San Diego Small Business Development Center, hosted by Southwestern College at our National City campus. Their website is Two other small business-oriented groups that can help with loans for small businesses are Kiva and Accesity, formerly Acción San Diego.

    Last, don’t forget Southwestern College! We have plenty of classes designed for potential and current small business owners. One of my personal favorites is BUS-145, Financial Management for Small Business. This one-unit class introduces the small business owner to the recordkeeping and other legal requirements that should help them keep their noses clean and not run afoul of any officious bureaucrats who might want to make their lives miserable. Other useful classes include BUS-120, Introduction to Business, and BUS-140, Business Law, where you will learn much about businesses and business structures and many of the legal aspects of running a business, including contracts and employee relations. Don’t forget us! We want you to succeed! We want you to be AWESOME!

    This page titled 19.1: Starting a Business: The Ultimate Investment is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Frank Paiano.