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Economic Development is . . . (increasing the flow) of capital through the community and reducing its leakage.

Taxi Ride

A passenger in a taxi leaned over to ask the driver a question and tapped him on the shoulder. The driver screamed, lost control of the cab, nearly hit a bus, drove up over the curb, and stopped just inches from a large plate glass window.

For a few moments everything was silent in the cab, and then the still shaking driver said, “I’m sorry but you scared the daylights out of me.”

The frightened passenger apologized to the driver and said he didn’t realize a mere tap on the shoulder could frighten him so much.

The driver replied, “No, no, I’m sorry, it’s entirely my fault. Today is my first day driving a cab. I’ve been driving a hearse for the last 25 years.”

Like the driver in our story above; we too can learn valuable lessons from looking at what frightens us. More than 600,000 businesses are started each year in the United States. The key to these successes is quite simple – each and every one of these people put all their fears aside and stepped out and took a risk.

600,000 is a lot of people, but when you look at that number compared to the 319 million people living in our country, the true picture is revealed. The majority of people are afraid to start; they fear the unknown or failure, while still others find starting a business is simply overwhelming. How to overcome fears – I had a very good coach tell me one time that when things seem overwhelming it is always best to break it down to the most basic element.

The basics of starting a business are simple; you just need a product or service, a group of people willing to pay for it, and a way to get paid. Think about it – if you have a group of interested people but nothing to sell, you don’t have a business. If you have something to sell but no one willing to buy it, you don’t have a business. In both cases, without a clear and easy way for customers to pay for what you offer, you don’t have a business. Put the three together, and congratulations— you’re now an entrepreneur.

Why is it so critical for more people to get past their fears and start businesses, because small businesses (under 500 employees) in America make up 99.7 percent of U.S. employers. Think about that, while all the big corporations get the headlines everyday it is American small businesses that are really driving our economy.

It is so important that more people step up that Paypal co-founder Peter Thiel has started handing out $100,000 to 24 people every year that drop out of college for two years to start companies.

As we build Tama County’s economy, there are going to be fears we come up against that seem big. We just need to remember to keep it very basic.  If we do this we soon will be amazed where we are after some time passes. Great things will happen as more of us start putting fears to the side and stepping up.



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