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Based on 300,000 companies, most with annual sales under $10 million. One takeaway: Specialization pays off.
Spiking sales might make for good cocktail conversation, but if you don't turn a profit--and keep turning one--you won't be in business very long. With the help of Sageworks, a Raleigh, N.C.-based accounting consultancy and private-company data provider, Forbes assembled a list of the 20 most profitable businesses, on a pretax basis, that aspiring entrepreneurs might launch. At No. 1: offices of Certified Public Accountants, with an average pretax margin of 17.1%. Wired communication carriers (transmission-line operators and the like), which clock an average 10.1% margin, brought up the rear.
Two years ago I had an idea for a website. I decided to leave a well paying job, invest all of the money I made post college, and began to start the terrifying journey of building a company. Today, I want to share the ten most powerful things I learned about turning that idea into a business at a time when the economy was at its worst, and capital was scarce. Many of the tips I'm sharing with you were passed down from others who were kind enough to share their experiences and insight with me.
Some world-beaters start young. And they're thinking about more than lemonade stands.
In 1996 Apple celebrated its 20th anniversary, Mark Zuckerberg was in junior high and Jacob Cook--who owns a computer support company--was born.
No, your math is right: Cook is all of 13 years old.
Cook, who lives in Sacramento, Calif., has been an entrepreneur for three years. At age 10 he started buying books and other "low-end stuff" at garage sales and re-selling it on eBay. As he learned more about computers, he started creating video tutorials about fixing tech problems and broadcasting them on YouTube. After he was profiled in a local newspaper, people started contacting him with their own troubleshooting requests. Today he charges up to $30 an hour to help clients erase computer viruses and fix other problems.
Not so fast, Martha Stewart.
OK, you're special. You are talented and one of the best at what you do. But that doesn't mean that you're equipped to run your own business--even one within a field or industry you've been working in or following for years.
To wit: 627,200 new businesses opened in the U.S. in 2008--the same year 595,600 businesses shuttered and 43,546 filed for bankruptcy, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Likewise, 30% of small businesses fail within the first two years and half close shop within five years, according to the SBA.
The fact of the matter is that far too many people launch their own companies for all the wrong reasons and without the tools it takes to succeed. Before handing in your notice and signing a lease on an office, it's imperative you take a hard look at yourself in the salaried eye and ask yourself a few critical questions that could mean the difference between a fulfilling life as your own boss and speed-dialing a bankruptcy lawyer.
Some people are born rich, but it is the self-made billionaires who inspire people more than anybody else. While most entrepreneurs won’t end up in the 10-digit club, there are lessons to be taken from these elites.
Who is the real entrepreneur? What does it mean to be self-employed? Dane Stangler examines this question and what it means to be an entrepreneur during these tumultuous economic times.
At the University of Miami a few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend an entrepreneurship class with roughly 40 students. Most of them were juniors and seniors, joined by a small number of law students. The course had so far covered the theoretical literature on entrepreneurship, but on this particular day all the students wanted to talk about was their own futures.
A startup energy company has received federal and state approval to install a device in the St. Clair River that will create electricity from the flow of water. Vortex Hydro Energy, which has exclusive rights to commercialize atechnology patented at the University of Michigan, will install the device in July. It will be north of the Blue Water Bridge on Dunn Paper's property at 218 Riverview St., Port Huron
It sounds like a privacy breach waiting to happen: Take some of your company's most classified information — employee records containing Social Security numbers, salaries — and put it on a bunch of remote servers that let you access the data via the public Internet.
The Goldman Sachs Foundation recently invited me to share some thoughts about leadership with a group of Chinese university students who had been named Goldman Sachs Young Leaders. As I prepared my remarks, I thought about the bosses, coaches, teachers and other people who had most inspired me in my life. Did they have common personality traits that made them great leaders? I thought about billionaires like Sergey Brin and Larry Page, the founders of Google, and Steve Jobs of Apple. Can we learn from them? Are they good leaders?
One of George Bush's most memorable lines was his complaint that the French had no word for "entrepreneur". Well, if Senator Dodd's new financial reform bill becomes law, we may well have the word, but no longer any need for it.
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