I’ve been searching for both the words and evidence for something I know to be true: many successful companies are started in a recession. I wrote a cover story a couple of magazine issues ago on this topic – see Issue 4-2 on SMB STARTUPS!
I recently had a conversation with Jeff Connally at CMIT (leading computer franchise organization) who communicated that this recession is a prime recruitment time for his selling of franchise territories to former Fortune 1000 employees who have left their jobs and are seeking to start a business. Other anecdotal evidence exists.
But late last week, Microsoft released one of the best studies on this topic that I have seen in sometime. Headlined Majority of Recession-Bred Entrepreneurs – 70 Percent – Left Full-Time Positions to Start Own Business”
this study really offers an optimistic view I found refreshing.
According to a recent survey conducted by Microsoft Corp., the majority of entrepreneurs who started their business during the recession were employed. Roughly 70 percent of recession-bred entrepreneurs left their jobs to start their own business.
Despite their relative fearlessness to strike out on their own in a rocky economy, nearly one in three new entrepreneurs credit technology as a key catalyst in driving their entrepreneurial spirit.
“Technology is critical to a business owner’s success. It helps increase cost savings, supports innovation and, ultimately, contributes to growth,” said Christoph Wilfert, general manager of SMB solutions for Microsoft. “Many newer technologies, such as the cloud-based offerings of Microsoft’s productivity applications, promise great value but still have limited awareness among SMBs.”
According to the research findings, entrepreneurs picked technology as one of the top three considerations when starting their business, along with marketing, advertising and public relations, and capital funding. Furthermore, affordability (71 percent), security (37 percent) and overall technological capability (35 percent) were identified as the top three most important factors when evaluating technology purchases for their business.
Microsoft offers free or low-cost options for entrepreneurs who are just getting started. For example, Microsoft Office Live Small Business is a set of Internet-based tools that provides everything needed to take a business online, including a free Web site and services to market and manage a small business.
Evaluating and incorporating newer subscription-based technologies, often referred to as software as a service (SaaS), is a low-cost or free option for small and midsize businesses seeking to simplify and alleviate workloads so they can focus on growing their business. For instance, the Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite is an integrated set of messaging and collaboration solutions hosted by Microsoft. It consists of Microsoft Exchange Online, Microsoft SharePoint Online, Microsoft Office Live Meeting and Microsoft Office Communications Online. These online services give businesses streamlined communications with high availability and comprehensive security without the cost or hassle of managing onsite hardware and software.
Microsoft’s latest operating system, Windows 7, also addresses the business needs of SMBs with its new and enhanced features, including the following:
-- HomeGroup enables small businesses without a server to build a basic network and easily share documents, printers and devices across multiple PCs. -- Advanced Backup schedules a periodic backup to save data or an entire system image to a network location or a local drive. -- Encrypting File System is a powerful encryption technology that encrypts files and folders and helps protect a business's confidential information, such as credit card numbers or employee information. -- Windows Aero enhancements (such as Aero Snap, Aero Peek and Aero Shake) help intuitively navigate, arrange and work with multiple open windows on the desktop. -- Windows Mobility Center makes mobile computing easier with access to all mobile settings in one place. -- Location-Aware Printing intuitively identifies and sends documents to the correct available network printer when working between home and office.
“Throughout the development of Windows 7, we asked small- and midsize-business owners what they regarded as their greatest technology considerations,” Wilfert said. “Overwhelmingly, we heard speed, reliability and security. Windows 7 delivers all those and much more. We are excited to say that we have responded to the needs of entrepreneurs and have taken the fear out of starting a business, regardless of the economic climate.”