|Author: Luke Johnson, Financial Times
Published: May 5, 2010
The hour is always darkest before dawn. I have a gut feeling that now might just be a great time to take the plunge. There is plenty of negative news about deficits and double-dip recession. But technology and global markets are creating real advantages for anyone tempted to give it a go. And a new concern will not be weighed down with the legacy issues like property and pension obligations that are holding back incumbent players. Among my reasons why now is the time:
* The internet has made it easier to experiment than in the past. Building an online presence costs less than it ever did. I just redesigned my website for less than £2,000 in a few weeks. With that you can reach the whole world. Yes, the web is crowded, but there are billions of consumers connected to it who might see your ads or buy your products. And if your idea fails, too bad – shut the project down and try another; it is cheaper and quicker to discover what works than at any time in history.
* The corporate life seems less appealing . Jobs for life have gone; occupational pensions have gone; and who wants to slog away in a suffocating hierarchy their whole career? The freedom and satisfaction of self-employment are hard to beat. Of course there are risks – but then you might get sacked anyway if you work for someone else. Starting a company gives you the chance to achieve independence and self-determination – and if it succeeds, you really will get the rewards of your efforts.
* The world needs entrepreneurs more than ever. New jobs and wealth creation spring principally from new companies. I predict governments will do more to encourage entrepreneurs in years to come – from lower taxes to a reduced regime of bureaucracy. Every policymaker I speak to understands that only private enterprise can tackle unemployment and generate the tax we need to deal with our problems.
* There is more advice and support than ever before. Books, online, agencies, magazines – you name it, there are hundreds of places to go to find ideas, recruit staff, secure premises, source IT, deal with legal and accounting issues and so forth. There are more clubs and networks – more ways to access funding, find partners and reach customers. There are many more role models and mentors around than when I started out in the 1980s.
* It is easier to freelance and subcontract than before. Virtual businesses are common. Almost everything can be outsourced – manufacture, R&D, fulfilment, logistics, administration, IT – you name it. And providing these services offers endless niche markets.
* There is talent galore looking to join in a new venture. Now is a wonderful time to recruit able staff. Big business and the state are shedding personnel – people will be more willing to throw in their lot with an emerging company than during the good times.
* Premises and plants are plentiful. Rents are lower, machines are in surplus – there is more choice than there has been for years in terms of premises and equipment.
* Redundancy should be a beginning, not an end. Thousands do seize the day when they lose their job – and while not all find it a pushover, for many it allows them to pursue their dream and follow their passion.
* Part-time is a way to get going. When I worked for others, I moonlighted for several years, participating in various schemes at weekends, evenings and during holidays. It gave me experience, confidence and helped generate capital – so I was better prepared when I left employment for good after a few years.
I recently became chairman of the Advisory Board of Fast Track, which ranks Britain’s fastest growing companies. There I am endlessly impressed by the vision and energy displayed by the founders of so many of the companies surveyed. They know it is worth it.
No one believes starting something from scratch is a breeze. But as Samuel Johnson said: “He that labours in any great or laudable undertaking has his fatigues first supported by hope and afterward rewarded by joy.”
Johnson, Luke. “Now is the Moment to Seize Your Opportunity.” Financial Times. N.p., 5 May 2010. Web. 5 May 2010. <www.ft.com/cms/s/0/3f720290-57dd-11df-855b-00144feab49a.html>.
For over thiry years, Randal Joy Thompson has expressed her passion for helping people around the world achieve their dreams through a career in international development. She has advised senior government officials on key policy changes, assisted local non-governmental organizations establish themselves, organized interest group coalitions, and worked in small rural villages and large urban centers on a variety of development challenges in India, Cameroon, Morocco, Nicaragua, Mongolia, Romania, Ukraine, Kenya, Albania, Bulgaria, and Bolivia.
For the last two years, she has helped staff at the Ministry of Planning and Development Cooperation in Baghdad, Iraq enhance their management skills and understanding of the global economy. She facilitated an Appreciative Inquiry with ministry staff during which the group drafted a preposterous proposition which expressed their dream for collaborative teamwork and a democratic, flat organizational structure. The group made serious individual and group commitments to achieving their proposition. Randal also taught course in cross-cultural communication and protocol for ten ministries in Iraq. She is now serving as Chief of Party on another project in Baghdad, responsible for monitoring and evaluating the US government project portfolio and conducting sector studies to support their future strategy.
Randal has been a keynote speaker at several conferences, including the first and second International Women’s Conferences held in Romania in 1998 and 1999. She delights in inspiring her audiences to see their potential to achieve their dreams and work together on common opportunities to change their personal and social worlds. She combines humor with serious calls to action. She is particularly interested in helping organizations change creatively through the application of appreciative approaches. She is President and CEO of an organizational development consulting company in Reno, Nevada, “Getting to Excellence.”
Randal works with government, private sector, and non-profit organizations as well a common interest groups. She especially enjoys working with women’s groups and organizations. She also delivers training in international development and how to effectively work in a globalized economy and cross-cultural communication.
Randal has her BA in Philosophy from the University of California at Berkeley; her MA in Philosophy and MBA from the University of Chicago; and her MA in Biblical Exposition from Capital Bible Seminary. She also has a Certificate in Organizational Development Consulting from Georgetown University and a Certificate in French Civilization from the Sorbonne. She has been certified by Company of Experts as an Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator.
Since 1989, Company of Experts, Inc., has sought out the most qualified Coaches, Consultants, Facilitators and Trainers within their specialized subject field. Each person has a strong commitment to the theory and practice of their subject area bringing a balance of education, consulting and on-the-job experience to bring unique real-world richness to our training.
With Experts on Call (EOC) located throughout the World, we can provide training and consulting on-site at a reasonable rate. Each Expert on Call strives to create a learning environment that is open, respectful and focused to ensure that you will have practical and relevant experience to immediately use when you return to work.
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Company of Experts, Inc. and Distance Edu Learning, Inc. Team Up to Launch an Innovative Online Solution to Training and Development
January 2, 2009
Company of Experts, Inc., an international network of people with outstanding expertise in consulting, development, facilitating and training, and Distance Edu Learning, Inc., developer of the ground breaking platform for online learning and development, Fintelo, announced today that they have teamed up to create a new system for organizations and individuals to, within their budget and time, continue in further growth and advancement with online programs.
“We saw the need for organizations to have access to high quality training while keeping their budget low and keeping productivity high, and knew that we could work together to make this possibility a reality.”
Company of Experts Online Programs provides individuals and organizations with an easy to use online solution for change and growth. Company of Experts has received 5 Star ratings for their on-site trainings and programs, and with the introduction of their high quality programs available online, without the cost or time of travel, more individuals will have the opportunity to engage in positive change. Many companies are also trying to go green, using fewer resources for employees to drive to locations for training. By using Fintelo, a Learning Centered Framework developed by Distance Edu Learning, users will experience the ease of not having to focus on how to work the technology but rather how the technology works for them. Users will feel at home with state of the art graphics depicting their own virtual office that manages their announcements, tasks, calendar, assessments and more. Fintelo’s collaborative learning allows learners and trainers to communicate like never before, utilizing interactive real-time chat, discussion boards, forums and private email. Using assessments, organizations can track the use and progress of their associates.
Company of Experts Online will begin to offer their programs for organizations and individuals in with the inauguration of their trainings in January 2009.
About Company of Experts: Located in Las Vegas, Nevada, Company of Experts has experience in consulting, organization development, facilitating, keynoting and training and development in colleges, schools, universities, corporations, governmental and nonprofit organizations. They have a variety of service offerings that help move from conflict to opportunity including the Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator Training, the Department Chair Institute, the Leadership Development Institute, Instructional Skills Workshops and the Creative Change Institute. www.CompanyofExperts.net
About Distance Edu Learning: Located in Las Vegas, Nevada, Distance Edu Learning is an innovative software company that just released the Fintelo online learning platform in 2008. They have already seen the positive results Fintelo lends to online learning with their clients in the education and corporate markets. www.Fintelo.com
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AdjunctSuccess is the only organization dedicated solely to the professional development needs of part-time professors, and the instructional leaders who coordinate their work. Members of AdjunctSuccess receive a seat in 15 live topical webinars and have access to archived recording, a monthly e-newsletter, and access to rich sets of printable and online resources. To learn more about AdjunctSuccess and its membership, please visit their website.
The American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) advocates for over 1,200 two-year colleges nationwide. The AACC promotes its college members through policy initiatives, innovative programs, research and information and strategic outreach to business, industry, and the national news media. The AACC also encourages collaboration amongst its members by creating networking opportunities at all levels, which drive professional initiatives, dialogue, and community building. To learn more about the AACC and its benefits visit their website for more information.
FINTELO is a next-generation internet-based learning software program that makes online teaching and learning for instructors and students more engaging, immersive, enjoyable and easier to use than products that are currently available in the market today. Fintelo was created by Distance Edu Learning, Inc., which has committed its entire resources to creating innovative products and services that meet the needs of educational institutions, business organizations,and the military; providing the highest quality educational tools to the most critical end user – the learner! To learn more about Fintelo or to schedule a demonstration, please visit their website.
The League for Innovation in the Community College is an international organization dedicated to catalyzing the community college movement. The League host conferences and institutes, develop Web resources, conduct research, produce publications, provide services, and lead projects and initiatives with our member colleges, corporate partners, and other agencies in our continuing efforts to make a positive difference for students and communities. The League is also the leading community college organization in the application of information technology to improve teaching and learning, student services, and institutional management. To learn more about The League and their upcoming conferences, please check out their website.
The North-American Council for Staff, Program and Organizational Development (NCSPOD) serves a diverse membership comprised of colleges, universities, business, industry, consulting firms and government agencies from across the United States and Canada. NCSPOD’s mission is to increase institutional vitality by providing professional growth opportunities for our members, enabling them to establish, enhance and revitalize staff, program and organizational development in their organizations. NCSPOD creates opportunities for members to discuss and share professional development solutions to your faculty, staff, program and organizational development challenges. Check out their website to learn more.
The Community College League of California is a nonprofit public benefit corporation whose voluntary membership consists of the 72 local community college districts in California. The Community College League of California is the primary advocacy organization for California community college districts and promotes effective leadership at all levels by delivering outstanding services and programs that engage districts and support their operations.If you would like to learn more about the programs and services offered by the Community College League of California, visit their website.
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Aligning our values with Appreciative Inquiry, we engage in creating systems and structures that support learning and social awareness; creativity, positivity and enthusiasm for living systems with the perseverance to build community with compassion, enthusiasm and trust.