My father was one of the hardest working men that I have ever met in my life. He gave 20+ years to a company that he thought he would retire from. He moved his family from city to city all across this great country in order to “climb the corporate ladder”. By the time I was in eighth grade, I had attended eight different schools. He was a true blue company man, and one hell of a father I should add. But in the early 90’s, long before Downsizing, Rightsizing, and being Displaced were in fashion, a company that my father had dedicated over half of his life to, decided that he was expendable. He was a day too old and getting paid a dollar too much. There was some twenty or thirty something that was willing to work for a couple of bucks less. And just like that, he was middle aged and unemployed. I was thirteen. That’s when I learned one of the most valuable lessons of my life. I learned that there was absolutely, positively going to be no such thing as “The Gold Watch” for my father’s generation. As it turns out, I was right.
A very close friend of mine owns a very large and successful staffing company. She shared with me, over coffee, that the average job started in 2010 is anticipated to last 37 months. And that the average job search will last almost 11 months. Now I haven’t taken the trouble to audit these numbers but when my tooth hurts I go to the dentist…when I want information on staffing and average life cycles of employment, I talk to my friend. Let’s assume that she’s even remotely in the ballpark. That means that a forty year old, hoping to retire at 65 will work for six different companies and spend close to six years laid off during that period of time.
At this point, you’re probably not feeling warm and fuzzies reading this, and I certainly don’t have them as I write this article, so let me share with you some encouraging facts. But before I do, let me preface by saying that business ownership is not for most people, but for those that are willing to dip their toe into the entrepreneurial waters, the risks can be high, but the rewards can be great.
- Over 90% of the businesses in the US fall under “small business”
- It is the engine that creates 75% of all new jobs
- Small business is the way that 5 out of 6 Millionaires made their first million
- A franchise is opened every 8 minutes
- Over 10 years franchise concepts have a 90% success rate
- According to a recent USA Today article, people ages 55-64 represent the second largest segment of NEW entrepreneurs, just behind 35-44 year olds
So what does all of this mean? It means that if you got “The Gold Watch” and you’re reading this, you are most definitely in the minority. For the rest of us, it seems that have two options: we can job hunt and hop for the next 10, 20, or even 30 years. Or we can start a business, plant roots, build equity, plan for the future, and control our own destiny.
So, if in a quiet moment, you have come to the realization that you don’t want Corporate America back…or maybe you’ve realized that they don’t want us back, and you’ve ever dreamed of what life would be like IF you only owned your own business. With good advisors and a systematic approach to doing your due diligence, it’s never too late to go out and begin to earn your own “Gold Watch”…….I hope it’s a Rolex!