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Economic Perspective: How to Think About Starting a Business?

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“Today’s program looks at how to think about starting a business. Mike, most of us in our work career have thought about being our own boss, and starting a business. But doing so seems daunting, especially with competition from foreign companies and large conglomerates. Is there any room for the little guy or gal who wants to be an entrepreneur?”


“I think there still is, and I think this a mix of advice that’s been given forever versus new kinds of advice. I think any time you want to look at starting a new business you want to assess what your strengths are. How good are you at doing something? And especially if someone else is not as good. So you look at your strengths versus your competitors weaknesses.”

“And we want to begin by looking at our skills, and talents and our passions, and making sure that those line up with what we want to do. And that may require that you get some additional training. Now in terms of how this differs today, you’re absolutely right, we do have a lot of competition from big companies. We have a lot of competition from foreign companies.”

“But some of their weaknesses are communication and connection with the buyer. When you’re big that’s sometimes harder to do so a lot of people are saying today there is a niche. There is opportunity for smaller businesses who can make that connection with the individual; can make that connection, and cater to what an individual buyer wants. It may be the big business can’t. So I definitely think there’s still room, a lot of room, for entrepreneurs, for following your passions, but it really starts with looking at what your skills are and compare that to what you want to do. Re-skill if needed, but after that go for it.”

Mike Walden is a William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at North Carolina State University who teaches and writes on personal finance, economic outlook and public policy.

This post was originally published in College of Agriculture and Life Sciences News.