Wednesday, February 02, 2011

There is lots of news coming out now about the new Start America program to try and help more new businesses to get started, something I've devoted my life to for the past 17+ years.

The Los Angeles Times thinks Startup America is the wrong approach, and say so in this editorial today (click here.) At the bottom of the editorial you can read this comment from me:

Here's a suggestion for the Startup America program, take a hard look at what the Small Business Administration and it's SCORE program are really doing to small business in America.

It has been well documented that the venture capital approach to startup (big idea, formal market research and strategic planning, using other people's money) is just not the way most businesses get off the ground. If it was, we'd have a planned economy and not a market economy. See Amar Bhide's The Origin and Evolution of New Businesses, Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson's Rework, Martin Ruef's The Entrepreneurial Group.

Look at small business today and small business in 1954 with the SBA was launched. What has the SBA done to small business? It has just about killed it.

(Why MBA+? Full disclosure. I say I'm a recovering MBA. Much of what I learned in graduate business school I've had to overcome to be truely helpful to people starting a business from $0, as I've done over the past 17+ years. See

John S Wren, MBA+
Founder, the new, free Small Business Chamber of Commerce,Chamber

Right now the Small Business Chamber is operating as a one-man band, so I felt comfortable signing the above as Founder. Soon we will need to form a board of directors, adopt politicies, and then, when I sign things like this I'll have to conform to the wishes of the board and the membership. Right now there is really not anyone to fire me, but of course if I do anything too far out of bounds members will start resigning. If you want to resign or if you want to invite your Facebook friends to join us, go to
We are trying to figure out a good way to do online brainstorming. It seemed to me Twitter would work, but our first session was a disaster, as you can see if you check our posts from yesterday on
So a new Brainstorming Facebook Page for the Small Business Chamber, you don't have to be a member to play, so give it a try. You can post a brainstorming question under the "Discussions" tab as a new topic, or contribute your ideas to topics that have already been posted. One of the questions: Is there a better way to do brainstorming online. :) Take a look at
We've got a great speaker this Friday (Feb 4) at the Denver IDEA Cafe, see who she is at, and RSVP there if you want to make sure you are one twelve who sits at the brainstorming table with me and the speaker. Or you can let us know you're coming on the events Facebook page (click here), we've already got over 20 people who say they might be with us to observe the brainstorming from the peanut gallery. Should be a great meeting, will be better if you are with us, so one way or another take a minute now and let me know whether to look for you, OK?
At 4:30 p.m. Friday (Feb 4), following the IDEA Cafe, join me for the free SBCC Community Room College's "How you can start a Franklin Circle and why you should." This is a great way to become part of a peer advisory or mastermind group. RSVP to make sure you have a seat at or on the event announcement on Facebook (click here).
Or how about lunch tomorrow (Feb 3) at Perkins to talk about the same thing? A few of us will be getting together, for details and to RSVP see what I've just posted as a Facebook Event (click here).
"We find that observed (initial, 1st 150 to 550 days) survival rates were much higher for mom-and-pop ventures than for business startups based on other kinds of social relationships."
Martin Ruef, The Entrepreneurial Group