Wednesday, March 25, 2009

How Long?

Good things will eventually come from our current economic mess. Millions of Americans are getting kicked to the street. But among them is a host of talent waiting for the right moment to start new businesses. The loss of steady income isn’t the “right moment” they had in mind, but it’s the way many successful businesses have started since—forever.

Many of these new ventures will offer wholly new products and services. Others will provide new approaches to old problems that other companies have been unwilling or unable to fix. Many startups, if not most, are destined to fail. But a lot will succeed. And when each new business calls on its first prospect, they will worry about getting THE QUESTION: “How long have you been in business?” In turn, the new business will answer: “In minutes or hours?”

The fact is, that question doesn’t get asked as often one might think. When it does, don’t sweat it. A business’s age is important, but not critical, to its ability to deliver the goods. It certainly doesn’t guarantee the company will be around long. Disagree? Consider these companies:

AIG: Established 90 years ago

Lehman Brothers: Begun in 1850

General Motors: Started 101 years ago

How much confidence does the typical American consumer have in those companies today?

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