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Entrepreneurship's dirty little secret?  

Alan Gleeson, writing on the (he claims) unhealthy focus the government has on encouraging people to become entrepreneurs:

There is one major problem with all of this, and it's a dirty little secret that very few want to talk about: the odds of success remain spectacularly remote. Eric Ries, author of The Lean Start-up, puts it best: ‘The grim reality is that most start-ups fail. Most products are not successful. Most new ventures do not live up to their potential. Yet the story of perseverance, creative genius and hard work persists."

I strongly disagree with this point. Most startups fail, yes, perhaps... but most entrepreneurs succeed if they stick at it. How many people do you know who have been running their own businesses for 10+ years and aren't "successful" by some measure of the word? There are some, for sure - but they are definitely the exception rather than the rule.

By and large, running a business is a matter of skill more than anything else, and it's not a skill that's beyond the reach of most people. Alan, in fact, agrees later:

Instead, we should be encouraging young people to learn the skills they need to build and sell the next generation of products and services that we will consume, rather than encouraging them to jump straight into starting their own business. We also need to revisit traditional university courses and recognise that, in many instances, we are training them for jobs that no longer exist. We should be teaching them more about entrepreneurship including a strong emphasis on cash-flow management and financial literacy.

Entrepreneurship is a phenomenal career choice, but we need to better equip our youth for its challenges rather than blindly encouraging them. Collectively, we need to do better.

I've argued for this before. There's a far cry between this positive statement and the beginning of the article, which, perhaps to fan some flames, seems to claim that people should not be encouraged to start businesses.

Perhaps the best way to phrase this is:

People should not be encouraged to blindly start businesses, and instead should be encouraged to first learn some basics of running a business so they can decrease the chances their business will fail in a boring, predictable and avoidable way.

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