By Debra Baker, editor, Communications Technology magazine
I think almost everyone has harbored a secret desire to open his or her own business, believing: "I want to be the boss. I want to call the shots. I want to be the master of my own destiny (and vacation time). And I know how to do it better than anyone else."
Then reality sets in. Startups are hard to fund and maintain, with most failing within the first year or two. Family-owned businesses fare a little better but today’s generation is more prone to choose another career, leaving parents wondering who will carry on.
But here’s some heartening news regarding small businesses (including all you Tier 2 and Tier 3 cable, telco and wireless providers out there): Despite the political posturing in the nation’s capital regarding the national debt, taxes, medical care and all things Federal Communications Commission, new employment numbers released by wire service Reuters just before we went to press said some 90,000 new jobs were presumed to have been created in the United States in June.
While that number could be almost double the new jobs created in May, here’s an even better statistic: Payroll processor ADP said private employers added 157,000 jobs in June, and a huge percentage was attributable to small businesses with fewer than 50 employees. And Gartner predicts tech spending will spike 7 percent this year.
So where am I going with this? In a few short days, many of you will be heading to the West Coast to attend the 2011 Independent Show in San Francisco. This gathering generally caters to the smaller carrier, teaching the survival skills a Tier 2 or Tier 3 player needs to thrive in a competitive marketplace that just keeps spawning new providers that never would have tested the waters just a few years ago.
One of the most interesting discussions on this year’s show agenda is the kickoff session – the "Cable Leaders Panel: Bridging the Gap, Next Generation Leaders." The numbers say 70 percent of family-owned businesses don’t last past the third generation, so this may be the best opportunity to learn the most successful ways to groom your sons and daughters to take over when you retire. And those of you not involved in a family endeavor could take away some tips on how to motivate your "millenial" staffers.
I’ll be covering The Independent Show for CT and CT Reports (and follow me on Twitter @CTInsider). If you plan to be there, shoot me an email; I’d love to meet with you!