Monday, December 16, 2013

#HomeGrownEntrepreneurship: Secret of #RealEconomicVitality?

Henry Ford, the founder of the Ford car company had an interesting take on empowering individuals and families... paying workers high salaries to drive up wages, giving them the ability to purchase houses, and access to opportunity. Ford also saw how he could create a feedback loop whereby the workers themselves can afford to purchase the cars they themselves help make.

Can you do homegrown entrepreneurship that can bring supplemental income into your household? How would the unfolding of this process impact your child's perception of economic opportunity? By the term 'homegrown entrepreneurship' I am implying the concept about role-modeling to our children how to be successfully self-employed (or partly self-employed). I believe that if more of us started our own kinds of small businesses, there would be less need for government entitlement safety net systems of learned helplessness. From an executive function skills usage point of view, in a well-run home grown business, kids would see parents planning, brainstorming, dealing/ learning from failure and exhibiting mental flexibility and goal-directed persistence.

On the whole, a nation-wide home grown entrepreneurship landscape can be brought on by a united front between public school systems and families. For example, schools can teach age-appropriate financial literacy by traditional teach/ listen instruction as well as role-play scenarios in classrooms that resemble different business venues, including the family home.  Special Education schools tend to have mock rooms to teach life skills to students with more severe special needs. 

An example of kids who are running a home ice cream business. 

A variation of this can be expanded for use in Financial Literacy Class. With that said, states would have to probably have to put their legal weight behind this small instructional paradigm shift. This does not have to cost a lot, and costs can be overshadowed by economic vitality that stems from fostering and cultivating home grown entrepreneurship for each state. The dinosaur media, and the alternative media could be used to amplify the Kennedy-Esque idea of challenging families and individuals to take the matter of ramping up economic vitality into their own hands.  Politicians would probably love to take turns in cheering on the initiative. A public relations campaign that would set benchmarks for home grown entrepreneurs to make could create euphoric momentum... Don't laugh...Ok, if not euphoria, then a renewed sense of national hope and unity, in a time of selective economic depression.

A sustained nation-wide campaign prompting americans, and americanos to get their collective entrepreneurial derriers creating self-sustaining cash flow could outflank the weight of the negative economic overhang of debt our nation has.....

Let me put it this way.. you would be creating your own economy, and being a great example to the young ones on how they can 'carpe diem' and manifest their own destiny also.. to a great degree. 

The Wrap Up....

Back to Henry Ford with tie in by Lao Tzu, of Tao Te Ching book fame (about 2500 years old):

Because he was the decision maker of his business, he freely chose to equalize the playing field as far as who could have a car, but more importantly, he used the labor to make the cars, then overpaid for the labor for a job well done. He raised wages in the industry and kept them high. At this point, though not uniform, workers, alongside regular people, purchased vehicles. These workers basically reinvested  a portion of their salaries back into the company! What's more, the worker was able to provide for their family. The guy was building a middle class!  Ford raised the competitive wage in the car manufacturing business, in effect, setting a high standard for paying workers. Workers also have a feeling of economic security based on this model where they become sort of de facto shareholders. 

The point with this anecdote as far as this article is concerned is that he was the Boss-Man. He called the shots. The guy was rich already, and became one of the richest men in the world. Paying higher wages and having the foresight to anticipate/ predict that the workers would reinvest was a marvelous example of great executive function skills. He did a start to finish successful social experiment that brought in opportunity and economic vitality to individuals and families. 

But a economic paradigm of monetary entitlement breeds learned helplessness dependent on a cash flow source that is more interested in giving mediocre handouts of money instead of gajooles of economic empowerment. Lao Tzu, a famous mountain hermit expressed a view that I found appealing and prudent.

True mastery can be gained
by letting things go their own way.
It can't be gained by interfering.

Tao Te Ching, by Lao Tzu

The irony is that the government tax rates could reap in gajoollions of dollars from the record new small business profits made across this american land on a repeated yearly basis. Gone would by the occupy movements. Gone would be the economic depression that is strangling the middle class. Gone would be the mental-hold on the loss of the manufacturing base that was wrongly exported to countries who can pay workers pennies an hour. The new middle class economic paradigm must have a robust entrepreneurial culture base to give it enough jetfuel to move away from poverty. 

Americans, Americanos, schools, colleges, both public and private, state and local governments would find common ground. Everyone wants financial security, and no one wants to be left out in the cold.

So, can this idea outflank the economic reality we are facing? Surely, running and sustaining a profit-making business is no easy task.  Entrepreneurs are best known for being surrounded by failure. It is their 'ability to go from one failure to another, without loss of enthusiasm' that spells what the serial entrepreneur calls success.  This country is built on small business, and the middle class largely sustains the economy, so let's not focus on bringing in new business, but challenging ourselves to create new business. I bet you you can find scores of retired executives, CEO's and small entrepreneurs who would  love to teach for free. Using appropriate parameters a financial literacy revolution would by default require an executive function skills tool/ strategy foundation in order to ever be successful across the long term.

The biggest obstacle is putting it off by thinking it can't be done. I can see how it can be done. Can you see it?  What do you think?

A self-employed, hard working Father of a family I work with told me: "Bill.... I make my own economy."

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