To all of us who have the ambition, energy, guts, and work ethic, who took the risk to start or purchase our own businesses, do you agree that it was totally irresponsible for President Obama to insult and minimize our efforts and the personal responsibility we employ to make things happen? I was astonished and, frankly, quite angry!
Back in 1978, the ninety-fifth congress of the United States of America published a report entitled, THE FUTURE OF SMALL BUSINESS IN AMERICA. In Chapter 3 the following quote appeared: “This country’s small business people are believers in the rights and responsibilities of citizens, and strong participants in the spirit of independence on which this Nation was founded and with which it must continue to prosper. Our small business leaders are those who can and do create new methods of solving problems. Their high regard in local and national communities is not so much a result of their business role as much as their willingness to break new ground, maintain the virtues of freedom and independence and “do their own thing.”
I always wanted to be self-employed. In November, 1976 at 28 years old, I deposited $300.00 in the bank and started Venmark d/b/a Sales Development Associates with a distinctive business model for marketing and producing product publicity for small industrial and technical businesses. I began from a spare room at my parents’ home in Newton, Massachusetts. My wife and I worked 8-1/2 months without a day off and most of the days consisted of 12 to 16 hour schedules. Sometimes more, but never less!
What President Obama doesn’t understand is that the above scenario is replicated all over this great country and most people who try it invest a lot more money and fail. Starting your own business is challenging, stressful, and at the same time exhilarating and wonderful. Only those who have been in the arena can truly understand. It is an experience like having a child or losing a parent; you can’t understand it unless you’ve experienced it.
Folks, I say unapologetically, “I built Venmark International and am proud of it.” As an entrepreneur, I’ve created many opportunities for people over the years and have been blessed to attract some fine employees and I’ve also been betrayed by others who attempted to steal my business. Like all entrepreneurs, I have had to overcome adversity, adapt to changing times and technologies, make difficult decisions, and ultimately get paid what I’m worth. That is what makes “being an entrepreneur” so rewarding.
I applaud all of my clients who have built their businesses, many of whom I’ve had the privilege of serving since 1977. As stated in the congressional report, “Their high regard in local and national communities is not so much a result of their business role as much as their willingness to break new ground, maintain the virtues of freedom and independence and “do their own thing.”
© 2012 Steven M. Stroum