Recently a discussion broke out questioning who was responsible for building a business and creating jobs. As a private-sector business person I think I can add to the discussion.
Yes, I built it and I had lots of help.
I like every other business person left the comfort of a job where I worked very hard for my boss and took the risk to start a business of my own. My parents were military folks and had no real money but they provided me with a safe home and access to a good public-school education. I built a business model and perfected a concept.
I went out and began marketing the business and we started very small. Eventually my wife and I were able to mortgage a house owned by her mother and we were able to secure our first working capital loan from a finance company called the Money Store -a non-traditional finance company. My wife left her job with a Fortune 100 technology firm and we took the big plunge together.
Over time, we would grow the business and start other businesses. Some succeeded wildly, others failed miserably. We used SBA for financing in some cases and in other cases we used our very last dollar of savings. Our kids attended a great public school. While we worked, our parents took turns looking after the kids as the two of us worked 10-12 hour days for well over a decade.
We eventually built a business that had private-sector customers as well as public-sector customers. My largest projects were split equally between a public entities like the County or other Cities and a large Fortune 1000 private companies a variety of industries like golf, life sciences and defense contracting. We had numerous day-to-day small business customers as well as large business customers.
We have the best employees working for/with us that any business person could ever hope for or have. They care about our business and our customers and we care deeply for them and their families. Without them, our business could never reach its full potential.
I deeply value the people that choose to be employees and work for entrepreneurs as employees or in the public sector as public servants. They help create demand for goods and services and are extremely valuable to all commerce. No business could succeed without them. Employees, customers, and other businesses create the demand all businesses are formed to satisfy. All would fail if the pubic ever stopped consuming.
I also celebrate the entrepreneur … the job creator, because they are the engine that makes America so dynamic. The concept of taking a shot at the dream keeps America humming.
I can honestly say my wife and I built great businesses and we had lots of help building those businesses. I prefer to say: We ALL built it! We built it together but we had lots of help and I am very proud of this fact.
You are the real job creator.
If I hear another lender or investor claiming credit for the job creation of other entrepreneurs I am going to scream! Let’s say it all together, it is the person or persons with the idea, fortitude, commitment and creative juices necessary to decide to own and operate the business that gets the credit for creating jobs. They left the security of a paycheck as a hardworking employee working for someone else. They run the business, they hire the dedicated staff, their staff pours their sweat equity into the company, they take the real risks and they should be the primary beneficiaries of the success of the business. They are also as the ones experiencing the greatest pain when the business has negative outcomes. They are the ones that appreciate and honor their customers because they know that without customers and consumer demand, they themselves would be out of a job.
Let’s pretend you are a dry-cleaning business and you are in a room with all of your vendors , financial service providers, lawyers and utility providers. Everyone in the room is taking credit for your business being successful. Some have said that without them, you would have no business at all. Some have even claimed that they are responsible for the job creation you have taken credit for.
Now, of course you are willing to agree that it takes a village to be successful, however you know who the actual Village Chief should be and it is not these folks. However, these folks speak with such confidence and authority that even you are beginning to think they might actually be correct. Fortunately you have devised a way to clear up the nonsense by asking this question: Who in this room is the primary job creator and who will lose their job and life-savings if my dry-cleaning business were to close tomorrow? The answer is … you, my friend, only you and it has always always been only you.
Without needing to disparage anyone, I need to take some time and speak for the small business person. We are often on our own to create a life for our business. We can thank all of the other creative people that are taking risks and creating market demand for our goods, products and services. Yet we know above all that we will still have to scratch and scrape to survive for one simple reason: if we fail, we could personally lose everything and no one else shares that level of risk with us. It’s a sobering thought.
Who do the job creators thank for their success?
Good business people understand the other side of the story which is: It truly takes a village to be successful. Although we are ultimately on the hook for our failure, many have helped us on our journey to success. We need to cherish all of those that we rely on to be successful, understanding that in the world of chicken and the job creator, we definitely had to come first.
I want to be very clear that we have many to thank. We can first thank our God for life itself and for giving our parents life so they could give us life. We can thank our family for nurturing us while teaching us to love, honor, dream and share. We can thank our family for providing us with values that would guide us for our lifetime. We can thank all those strangers, (our military, public safety, health officials), we never met, who without us even asking for their assistance, helped keep us safe so we could sleep at night and therefore allowed us to use our days to learn and grow.
We can thank the countless teachers that invested their time in us so we could learn how to become successful. We can thank our constitution that enshrined a baseline and a system of government that is committed to protecting our unalienable rights. We can thank those that built the roads, dams, bridges, transportation infrastructure that we rely on for the very existence of our business.
We can thank the first person who had enough confidence in our ability to give us our first job. We can thank our first customer who took a chance that we could fulfill our promise and satisfy their demand. We can thank so many people including our vendors that allow us to conduct our business in the most effective manner possible. For those of us that have employees, we can thank them constantly for without their professionalism , expertise, and commitment to excellence. Without great employees, no business could reach its true potential.
You did not build it without help.
Yes my friends, we did build our businesses. We took great risks. However, I have never met a successful business person that believed they built their business without receiving help from a lot of people. Most business people humbly acknowledge that they did not build it by themselves and they are very happy to have a great team on their side. Frankly, we are all pleased to have a great country by our side!
The chicken or the job, which came first?
Which came first, the chicken or the job creator? Yes, credit , venture-capital and external-financing is important however without the original catalytic energy and commitment of the entrepreneur, there would be no business. No business, no job creation. So, I say the job creator comes first. We can serve the chicken for dinner later.
So there we have it. Entrepreneurs have the passion, drive and competence to start a business. Success is never guarenteed yet the business person pushes ever forward, risking everything … everyday. They require a lot of help from a variety of people and external resources to build it and make it grow.
Yes, they built it and they greatly appreciate the help along the way.