Friday, November 14, 2008

Clever Business Plans

My friend Mark is the sort of guy who can follow you into a revolving door and come out in front of you. Always wheeling and dealing! Like when a month or so ago, he brought us together with a co-worker of his who wanted to start an art gallery/knicknack shop in downtown Portland, and we'd advise as to the business and legal plan for this venture. After all, who better to provide guidance on opening an art gallery/knicknack shop than a consumer finance attorney and a controller for a clothing manufacturer? Exactly. Qualified--we are it.

So while that was all going on, I couldn't help but think, "Brando" I said to myself (that's what I call myself during my darkest moments. And my lightest moments.), I said "what sort of small business should I be running for my own benefit?" After all, I always say that the real fulfillment and security is in having your own business.

But of course now, the government is preparing to nationalize the auto industry (since it worked so well with Amtrak) and the financial industry is basically saying to the government "thanks for the several billion dollars, now we can pay out bonuses to our rich executives who caused the problem. Hey, can we get a pony?" In other words, other words which I should have used instead of that rant, the economy is in Suckville, which is the seat for Suck County in the state of New Suckvania. So this would be a terrible time to start a business, right?

Not necessarily, my hasty-to-conclude-things friend(s)! There's something that economists call "counter cyclical businesses" and I don't know what that means exactly, but let's just say that some businesses will thrive when the economy's bad. Like, the guy whose business it is to fix clogged toilets. Who on earth ever says "well, money's tight, I'll just leave that clog for a few more weeks"? No one! And if I'm wrong, make sure I never rent a room to that guy.

But also, when the economy's bad, people drink. A lot! So maybe at some point my business partner Mark and I will find a way to produce or sell booze. That's one industry that's not about to go to China. When's the last time you drank Chinese whiskey?

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