Starting a Small Business: Balancing Risk and Reward

In a perfect world, starting a small business would be risk free, but just as with everything else; the degree of risk determines the value of the reward.

According to the National Commission on Entrepreneurship, at any given time, 6% to 9% of the United States adult population is involved in planning for a new business. Most of these aspiring entrepreneurs, they say, will start a "Lifestyle Business" ? primarily providing employment to themselves and their families. The balance will find themselves in "Entrepreneurial Firms" ? those growth companies that, according to the NCE, created two-thirds of net new U.S. jobs in the 1990s.

Both are fraught with risk ? and potential reward. Ask a small business veteran about the risks, and three likely come to mind: employees, inventory, and accounts receivables. These are both the bad news and good news of business. In the audiobook, "Sound Advice on Small Business," author Jim Schell says, "The bad news is that they're a headache to manage, but the good news is they exert leverage."

What business would Schell, a seasoned entrepreneur and co-author of "Small Business for Dummies," start if he had it to do all over again? With his tongue planted firmly in his cheek, he says in a perfect world it might be any business without employees, inventory, and minimal accounts receivables. Seriously, though, Schell says, "Without [them], you can only grow so far, so big. With them, the world is our oyster."

Jim Schell offers advice to entrepreneurs on managing a small business each week in the free audio newsletter from What's Working in Biz, http://www.whatsworking.biz/full_story.asp?ArtID=92

About The Author

Cunningham is a principal of What's Working in Biz, http://www.whatsworking.biz, a publisher of business audiobooks and online audio programs on marketing, sales, and small business strategies.

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Small Business Struggles  NBC4 Washington

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