What once made America great was its infinite possibility.
No matter the challenge, ideas and hard work gave everyone a crack at success. But if you think that's the case today, you might be dreaming.
Brian MacMahon has ideas about reviving the American Dream. Brian is the Sensei of Expert DOJO, a Santa Monica based fast-growth engine for entrepreneurs in Southern California. He's owned many businesses and lived in 35 countries. Frustrated watching companies repeatedly fail, he launched his academy for entrepreneurial success.
Brian pinpoints 5 reasons why American startup failure rates are unacceptably high. And he's frank about how America can reclaim its status as the world's cradle of entrepreneurship.
1. Focus On Innovation, Not Funding
Brian says that new entrepreneurs tend to focus too much on funding. This habit distracts them from the work ethic needed to build a great business. There's nothing wrong with pitching investors, or dreaming about being the next billionaire. But the primary emphasis should be on creativity, hard work, and fundamentals. If you're always chasing other people's money (OPM), you're not building a solid foundation.
2. Level The Playing Field
Most leading tech company co-founders are Ivy League graduates. Others spend upwards of $100,000 a year for MBA programs. The system benefits those who have money, or who incur massive debt. Think of the untapped potential, the people with tremendous drive and talent who don't get a fair chance. What if we used the riches of the few to help underprivileged superstars who just need an opportunity?
3. Diversify The Leadership
If you look at Fortune 500 CEOs, you can count African-Americans on one hand. Latinos don't fare much better. And fewer than five percent are women. But women and entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds enjoy high success rates. Clearly, their lack of representation in our startup ecosystem is a missed opportunity. Diversity breeds creativity and new potential. When every child sees role models who look like them, it'll be a real sign the American Dream is back.
4. Spread The Wealth
A founder from a low-income area has almost zero chance of securing the funding needed to start a company. Investors tend to finance people with similar perspectives and skin tones. Brian says that's not okay for a lot of reasons. Here's one: in Silicon Valley, just ten startups hold 97 percent of the value. And they're worth more than all the others, combined. It's a recipe for repeated recessions. When these behemoths fail, they crush us all under their weight.
5. Encourage Collaboration
In most countries, governments acknowledge unfairness and support budding for-profit ventures. Not so in the U.S., which instead supports non-profits, forsaking start-up commercial ventures. Brian's Expert DOJO unites private companies, local government, charities and low-income entrepreneurs. The lesson: collaborating for small business success leads to a sustainable system for everyone.
Brian aims to recover our country's limitless potential. His company educates and coaches emerging entrepreneurs--and offers them free workspace. He has built a community of support for entrepreneurs, and his students experience success far beyond their peers. Perhaps if we follow his advice, we can reclaim our foundational business values. And return America to its rightful place as the entrepreneurship capital of the world.
Do you still believe in the American Dream? I'd love to hear your comments.