July 10, 2012
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// Business and Businesspeople Are Not Evil
That was the title of a speech I recently gave. Having read five books on the financial crisis of 2008-2009, I understand why some people may believe that business and businesspeople are, in fact, evil. But implying that all businesspeople are greedy, based on the behaviors of a relative few, is quite irritating.
As businesspeople ourselves, my partner and I have been alarmed by the hostility that has been shown to business owners and businesspeople. We have made a vow to be more outspoken on behalf of business owners - especially those who operate small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which are defined as firms with fewer than 500 employees. (Most such businesses, by the way, are owner-operated.)
SMEs employ half of all private-sector employees, generate 60 to 80 percent of net new jobs annually, and employ more than 40 percent of high-tech workers such as scientists, engineers, and computer specialists. (1)
In 2001, I gave a presentation at the Plante Moran Manufacturing & Distribution Practice Workshop entitled, "Who Are Our Clients?" My opening comments were as follows: "Our clients are men and women who risk their wealth every day to make stuff. Most of them work quietly behind the scenes, providing great jobs and career opportunities for millions. They serve on nonprofit and school boards, and city councils. They seem to be the ones driving much of the charitable activity in their communities."
These do not sound like evil people to me. Most of them sincerely care about their customers, associates, and suppliers. If you talk to them, they would say 2008-2009 was the worst period of their lives - not because of the losses, but because of the tough decisions they were required to make to stay in business (i.e. layoffs). They worked harder than they'd ever worked before, and very few went the route of Chapter 11.
There are some people who believe the best way to eradicate poverty in the world is through creating sustainable, for-profit jobs. You can read more (or, in summary, accept that a pretty compelling case can be made for jobs being the answer to poverty) about this at:
MIT Essay Competition
If you are a business owner or executive, we at Doescher Advisors would like to encourage you to keep going. Ignore the media. You know who you are and what you do. Keep on keeping on.
Doescher Advisors - Champions for Owner-Operated Businesses!
1. Footnote: Read PDF
Seek. Climb. Lead.