Columnist . Joe Ralstin


Necessity’s Mother

They say that necessity is the mother of invention, which I believe to be true.

However, depending on your specific demographic, this perspective can be viewed in different ways and may lead to different outcomes. The factors that motivate you to “do your own thing” are as varied as the businesses that are a result of your specific necessity.

A lot of young entrepreneurs seem to gravitate toward technology with a “There should be an app for that” mentality. These high-tech entrepreneurs need little in the way of start-up capital and physical infrastructure. All that’s required is a good idea and some programming skills, or someone with programming skills as a partner. They can change the world with nothing more than some computer code.

Urban demographics have led to start-ups like Uber, which uses private citizens and their vehicles to fill the “I need a ride” necessity.

This situation allows the business (Uber) to create an environment where private citizens become the entrepreneur on an individual level to fill a need.

On the other end of the spectrum is the middle aged entrepreneur. This is a person who, like me, has reached a point in their life where they are very experienced and knowledgeable , and can utilize these skills to carve out a niche in order to provide themselves with income.

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Usually rooted in their community, they have family and friends, a situation that does not mix

well with relocation. I was overpriced in the local employment marketplace due to my age and experience. Not looking to relocate, I had to create my own opportunity in order to survive.

Going it independently brings a whole new perspective to the “working for a living” mantra. Developing your product or service, creating a business plan, finding the start-up capital, creating the sales and marketing strategy, generating marketing materials (print and web), and developing a customer base are just some of the hurdles to creating a revenue generating entity.

Most, if not all, of these start-ups are born in the home or, as in the case of Harley Davidson or the Wright brothers, in a garage. A vision and a passion are the building materials for developing a viable and (hopefully) profitable business.

One thing that most of these businesses have in common is that they are classified as a microbusiness.

Depending on your definition of microbusiness, 92% to 95% of all businesses in the US are microbusinesses. These unseen and usually unknown entrepreneurs are the small but essential gears that drive the economy.

Done more for self-preservation than for the benefit of the whole, these small but essential entities are the backbone of commerce. Any way you look at it, there is quite a diverse array of businesses out there.

If we are to succeed and grow, we must work together. Necessity’s Mother wouldn’t have it any other way.