The impact of jobs moving overseas (off-shoring) cannot be fully quantified. It includes the impact on employees, the community, tax revenues, and other intangibles.

Keeping business in the US isn’t an entitlement. It is and will continue to be a function of ability to

  • Compete on something other than price,
  • Generate efficiencies of scale and scope through innovation and application,
  • Develop a core message that conveys the value proposition,
  • Understand market pressures,
  • Influence market perception,
  • Leverage the risks and fears of the market, and
  • Answer bottom-line needs through a value proposition

Who is best equipped to make on-shoring the logical, competitive, and cost effective choice? Entrepreneurs – the people once part of the corporations who have increasingly off-shored everything from the clerical, backroom activities to the technical and professional “trades,” which include accounting, engineering, programming and many others.

How do these outplaced, displaced workers become the answer to both reversing the trend toward off-shoring and creating employment opportunities? They bring the skills and talents honed in their corporate lives and learn to establish, build, and run lean, adaptable, well-managed businesses.

What does it take to make the transition from knowledge worker to knowledge entrepreneur?

  • Vision
  • Strategic objectives
  • Executable strategy
  • Marketing and sales abilities
  • Sound business model
  • Targeted, honed message
  • Differentiation
  • Value proposition
  • Quality of product and service
  • Investment in the present and future
  • Measurable results

In making the transition from employee to business owner, the first commitment is to learning. Few people making the transition will come fully equipped with the range of skills and experiences needed to handle every aspect of owning a business – accounting, marketing, purchasing, sales, and legal. As a consequence, the time you take to understand what you do know and what you don’t know will be the first investment in ultimate success.

Second, it is important to define what market need you will be filling. If there isn’t a need you can target or create, then you will be a business without a market. To state the obvious, a business without a market is destined for failure.

Third, the ultimate success determinant is the business model. The business model encompasses the “how you make money” from marketing and sales strategies to pricing and value messages. The business model determines the bottom-line profit and loss of your business.

The fourth element is scalability of the business. Scalability means the ability to adjust the size and capacity of the organization in response to increases and decreases in demand or to changes in the nature of the “product” sought. Businesses which do things differently, which have the ability to flex operations without permanent infrastructure are able to control costs and thus have price flexibility and profit margins less subject to erosion by fixed cost pressures.

Fifth on the list of factors which enable domestic companies to compete against off-shoring pressures is innovation. The US is known for its ability to develop new concepts, technology, and processes. Innovation is supported through SBIR and STTR. These are government grant programs which provide critical early stage funding for proof of concept and product development for many technology, software, biotechnology, and other specialized industries. These funds require that the business be capable – administratively and financially – to support success.

More people are employed by small businesses than major corporations. Small businesses account for an increasingly larger percentage of the economy. The displaced knowledge workers and the back office operations people will need to accept the challenge of entrepreneurship to foster continued growth and competitiveness in the US domestic economy and leadership in global markets.

Copyright ©2005 Lea A. Strickland, F.O.C.U.S. Resource, Inc.

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