Home Back Issues May 2009 Here to help small businesses

Here to help small businesses

| Print |  Email
Archives - May 2009
Friday, May 01, 2009

opensign

There's no shortage of economic woe right now, and maybe you’ve been caught in it.

So what do you do if you have been laid off and it seems as if no one in this otherwise great state is hiring? When the unemployment checks begin to dwindle and all seems lost, do you have any options? You bet, and that’s the good news.

You can start your own small business. That’s what I did after I was fired.

Fifteen years ago, not only was I was the unhappiest lawyer in the land, I was, quite frankly, a pretty lousy employee. From the outside it all looked good. I worked for a high-powered law firm in California. I had a beautiful, pregnant wife and two cute kids. I was (I thought) making the “big bucks.”

The truth is that I was overworked, underpaid, and I really hated being bossed around.

You know that you are supposed to be an entrepreneur when you are fired on the eve of Christmas, you lose your steady paycheck, health insurance and pension . . . and you are thrilled, even if your wife is not.

I started my own law firm and it made a profit the very first month. Not long afterwards, my first books were published (the Ask a Lawyer series), and after that, USATODAY.com hired me to be their online small business columnist. I’ve since written many books, including The Small Business Bible, and I speak all over the world regarding entrepreneurship. In fact, the small business guru gig became so lucrative that I am now a “recovering attorney,” having left that occupation when we moved to Portland almost a decade ago.

So when I tell you it’s a fine time to start or grow a business, it is from experience whence I speak.

Now, maybe you’re thinking, “Hey Steve, no offense, but I really don’t want to start a business right now,” or “Dude, I already started a business, and in case you haven’t noticed, times are tough!”

That’s where we come in.

There is a surprising dearth of quality information out there designed specifically for the small business owner in this state. To remedy this, each month I will be helping you make sense of this rocky terrain. Nationally, 99% of all businesses are small. In Oregon, this translates to well over 300,000 small businesses. While many of those have less than 20 employees, the vast majority actually have no employees at all; there are more than 200,000 self-employed people in Oregon. So it’s highly likely that anyone reading this is directly affected by small business — either you own one, are one, work for one, or know someone who owns or works for one.

This column is for you. I’m going to share the best tips, ideas and success strategies I come across. Even better, I’ll be profiling businesses across the state to see what they are doing right, and wrong, and in the process figure out not only how to weather this economic storm but how to get ahead.

What I promise is that every month you will learn something new, but I would love this to be a two-way conversation. I want to hear about your business. Let me know how your little part of Oregon is faring. That will make this column even more relevant and interesting.

I grew up in a small business household. My dad started out with one little carpet store and grew it into a chain 14 strong. At UCLA I used to drive to Mexico to buy what were, in retrospect, some really ugly hooded sweatshirts and would sell them on Venice Beach. In San Francisco, in graduate school, I started a nursery business. Small business is in my DNA.

Today, I have a much better gig. My job now is to make your job easier. Today, I have a much better gig. My job now is to make your job easier.

steve-BLOGSteve Strauss is the small business columnist for USATODAY. com and the author of The Small Business Bible. He lives in Portland, and can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . You can join the discussion of small business topics at his blog on mrallbiz.com.


 

 

More Articles

Beyond cheese

June 2014
Thursday, May 29, 2014
BY SOPHIA BENNETT

Tillamook expands its tourism niche.


Read more...

13 West Coast seafood species now 'sustainable'

News
Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Fishing OrBiz Fishing 0357 ADOBErgbCiting the transition to catch shares management as a key to rebuilding stocks and reducing bycatch, 13 species caught by the West Coast trawl fishery today earned designation from the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) as sustainable.


Read more...

OB Video: Dress for Success

News
Wednesday, July 02, 2014
DFSOBY JESSICA RIDGWAY | OB WEB EDITOR

Dress for Success Oregon promotes the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support and career development tools.


Read more...

What I'm Reading

June 2014
Thursday, May 29, 2014

The CEO of Axiom EPM, Peri Pierone, and the co-founder of McMenamins, Mike McMenamin, share their recent reads.


Read more...

Updated: Disrupting innovation

News
Tuesday, July 08, 2014
070814 thumb disputive-innovationBY LINDA BAKER  | OB EDITOR

The New Yorker recently published a sharply worded critique of “disruptive innovation,” one of the most widely cited theories in the business world today. The article raises questions about the descriptive value of disruption and innovation  — whether the terms are mere buzzwords or actually explain today's extraordinarily complex fast changing business environment. 

Update: We checked in with Portland's Thomas Thurston, who offers his data driven take on the disruption controversy.


Read more...

Why I became an Oregon angel investor

Guest Blog
Monday, July 14, 2014
AngelInvestBY TERRY "STARBUCKER" ST. MARIE

I really didn’t know that much about angel investing, but I did know a lot about the entrepreneurial spirit.


Read more...

Oregon Business wins awards

News
Monday, June 30, 2014

ASBPEOregon Business magazine won two silver awards for excellence in writing in the National American Society of Business Publication Editors Western region competition.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS