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When Starting a New Business, Take What the Defense Gives You

By: Steve Johnson

1/28/2009 - 12 Comments

Years ago when I was playing High School football, the coach would say, 'You have to take what the defense gives you'.

What this meant was that we had to find the weak spot in the defense and then continue to drive the ball down the field through that weak spot.

When our opponent was good at stopping the pass, we had to run the ball. And when our opponent was good at stopping the run, we had to pass. We had to spend the first half of the game finding the weakest players and the plays we can get the most yards from.

It didn’t matter what our offense was good at, we had to adjust to the weaknesses in the defense. Today, I find myself applying this same concept to business. You have to take what the defense gives you. Over the last few years, the U.S. government has lowered the interest rate for bank-to-bank overnight lending to record lows, which has caused the lenders to lower interest rates for borrowing money throughout our economy.

This is a weak spot in the defense, which any good Offensive Coordinator would take full advantage of. The next weak spot in the defense is the tax laws that have been adjusting over the past few years to give the small business sector some major advantages.

The financial crisis is going to create more regulation and more rules for large businesses to jump through. Wage freezes, price controls and purchasing limits are going to limit large businesses from action.  It doesn't matter if you like small businesses or not, they have the advantages.

Just last week, congress began questioning Microsoft for its layoffs. The government is going to do everything they can to control large businesses from acting as they need to.

So, if the job market is not using your potential then I suggest starting a small business. In football, you cannot say to yourself, 'I'm good at passing, so I'm going to pass the ball', if the defense is very good at stopping the pass.

You have to step out of your comfortable zone to exploit the weaknesses in the defense. If you don't, you will probably loose the game. Don’t get me wrong, starting a business is not an easy thing to do! But, neither is looking for a good job when we have a dramatic drop in employment or looking for a needle in a haystack.

Whenever the economy is suffering, the average number of hour's worked-per-week goes up. That means that you have to work more hours for the same money, if you're salaried. Starting a business usually means working a lot of hours, but realize that everyone else is also working a lot of hours. If you have to work a lot of hours anyway, then why not work for yourself?

The trick with starting a business is getting through the first 3 years, which is where most businesses fail. Once you have been in business for 3 years, your customer base and business relationships that you have established will most likely carry you into the future.

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