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Helping Entrepreneurs Succeed

(Oh come on, it’s not that bad!)

Since September 2008, when Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy, the economy has been abysmal. People have been forced from their homes, unemployment has hovered above 10% and banks still aren’t lending enough money to small businesses. These are pretty miserable times aren’t they?

Maybe not.

No doubt this economy has impacted just about every man, woman and child in this country, and I’m no exception. Because of this recession we weren’t able to raise as big of a fund as we had planned. All of our portfolio companies have needed more money than we originally anticipated, and we’ve all taken significant pay cuts.

So what’s the silver lining you ask?

This recession has forced us to be resourceful and efficient. Our venture firm has been operating like a lean, mean startup company since inception in 2008. We’ve made break-even a top priority for ourselves and our portfolio companies. Instead of hiring new associates where there is a need, we asked people to wear multiple hats and work longer hours. Our focus has shifted from brand messaging to sales. Brainstorming has become secondary to cash flow management. We’re in survival mode, all hands on deck.

Right now we’re experiencing the worst recession since the Great Depression. The glass is either half-empty or half-full, depending on how you want to see it. You can either complain that times are tough and give in, or you can get excited about the fact that we’re hit rock bottom and the only way to go from here is up. You decide.

Entrepreneurship is hard, but a recession can’t be an excuse for non-performance. This economy will weed out pretenders and make good companies stronger. If you’re a young entrepreneur this is a blessing in disguise. There is no easy money to be made out there right now and you will have to fight for every penny. But, if you become disciplined, instill a culture that is lean and efficient, and establish a company that can succeed in the worst of times, imagine how successful you’ll be when times are great!

Just remember not to get fat and happy when things do turn around because as the euphemism goes, “Pigs get fat, and hogs get slaughtered.”

If you stay lean, smart and efficient you’ll always survive the dips and make a killing on the spikes.


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