In my adult life I have started three businesses from scratch. Each time I had to give to get. I had to take on financial risk and invest my own capital and time up front before ever making a nickel for myself. Each time I had good ideas, education, strong ethics, dedicated work habits, focus, devotion and integrity. None of these things created jobs for others. Build it and they will come–only our customers created revenue and jobs.
Good customers are the life-blood of every business. Succesful long-term entrepreneurs understand this most important economic fact and never forget it. Without enough stable customers, every business will struggle and eventually fail.
That said, there is a common human tendency in some owners and managers to become intoxicated by success. They go native. They start to believe revenues are a direct product of their own genius and initiative. They forget where their business comes from–they start to take all of the credit. They begin to believe that they–not their customers– create jobs.
A reader sent me this article a while back and I finally got to read it yesterday. Everyone should. See Reward true job creators: Nick Hanauer. Until we get more customers back on stream, with jobs–not one-off hand outs or emergency benefits but recurring, regular income to spend in our domestic businesses–our economy will continue to stagnate and struggle.
Those with successful businesses and high incomes cannot keep all of our cake through low tax rates and also expect our economy to have a robust customer base too. We used excessive consumer debt to fund spending deficits over the past 30 years and now we are all paying for the weight of this burden through a prolonged period of asset deflation and slow growth. Most of those who have the highest wealth today made it as customers, financial institutions and governments became recklessly indebted and capital depleted over the past three decades. That path has now been exhausted. Time to change tactics. We all have to help refill the fiscal tank and clean up the mess of the world’s wild spending orgy. Bailing out more banks and weak businesses will not do it. In the end we will all pay, one way and another.
Also see this excellent piece from Dylan Ratigan today: Encouraging the right kind of greed