23 June 2009

The world has changed. The pace and scale of the current recession has heralded a new way of thinking about the future of capitalism. Undoubtedly the current basis of our model will not radically change (at least no one sensible is suggesting that it will) but the way in which we do business will do. The settled and safe view of the economy has been shaken and corporate life in the future is unlikely to settle into its previous comfortable position. Industries that are “too big to fail” are simply too big and this opens up a wealth of opportunity for a new breed of entrepreneur.

An unprecedented number of people are looking at new ways to do business. This could be the model of business e.g. a social enterprise rather than solely for profit; or the way in which trade is carried on, with new ways of using existing resources or by consumers changing their buying methodology. All this will happen at a speed not previously seen and so it will take nimble and flexible businesses and individuals to provide solutions rather than the “supertankers” of multi national companies.

Great businesses emerge all the time and innovation, desire and enterprise are found as easily in a recession as in boom times. Barriers to entry are lowered; labour, materials and premises are cheaper. And the motivation is greater – why bother risking it all to be an entrepreneur when you can risk other peoples money as a trader and make enough to retire on by age 30? That is why most people would be hard pushed to name a true entrepreneur who has made it big in the last 15 years.

So the time is right to usher in the new capitalism with less reliance on a handful of banks, retailers and industrialists and more variety, innovation and choice. There will still be casualties but the next few years could herald an exciting new world – perhaps now is the time for governments to get firmly behind start up businesses rather than protecting the few or trying to pick winners.

In my opinion there has never been a better time to start up your own business.

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