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It's the Best Worst Time to Go into Business

The snow was coming down in large, cover-everything kind of flakes. It was May. Late may. Almost June. My eyes kept bouncing between the disaster outside and the stacks of freshly printed door hangers I had just spent my advertising budget on. My entire advertising budget. It’s not easy convincing someone they need a lawn sprinkler system when their lush, green yard has been transformed into a white, summer winter wonderland.

It was the early ‘90’s and the country showed no signs of breaking out of a stubborn multi year recession. Finding full time employment was bad enough. Even worse for theory rich but experience poor summer kids like me looking to bank enough tuition cash. So I decided I would skip the hiring lines and create my own job. I started a sprinkler company. One trip to the trade name registry office, another to the printer and I was in business.

I knew nothing about sprinkler systems.

But the local pipe and valve supplier was offering a free course on how to design, quote and install lawn sprinklers. The course including a free lunch. I like lunch. What did I have to lose?

In hindsight it was pretty gutsy. Most start ups don’t see profit until the second or third year. I needed to be cash positive within four months. Make that three now that May was lost to a freak extended winter.

Within a few days of the snow melting however, I signed my first customer. And before I knew it, I was knee deep in muddy, trench sprinkler warfare. Days were spent digging and installing. Evenings were spent new customer door knocking. And nights were spent quoting and bookkeeping.

It was one of the best summers of my life.

I think the mud that summer taught me more than most of my academic textbooks. I had an early taste of entrepreneurship and I was hooked. This is not to say there was anything prestigious or glamorous about it. Nor was it easy. I worked harder than any summer job I had before. And in the end, I’m pretty sure I earned less than I would have from an hourly wage. But I still made decent cash and gathered a boat load of real life experience.

Fast forward to today and we are again in the grips of a deep downturn with few signs of recovery. Low oil prices have settled in for a long hibernation and unemployment is hitting multi decade highs. Many people are realizing their education and experience isn’t generating job opportunities. Worse yet, even hard working employees are being laid off despite years of loyalty to the company they work for.

So why not consider going into business for yourself?

With so many aging boomers looking to retire, we’re seeing an unprecedented number of businesses looking to transition. And this will only grow in the coming years. Better still, with so many current owners willing to stay on to mentor and train new buyers, you can beat the odds of a start up and be cash positive from the beginning. After all, buying an existing business has a much higher probability of long term success versus starting one.

But what about that downturn?

Other than right now, there’s never a perfect time to start a business. It literally is the best worst time to go into business for yourself. When the economy is hot, businesses struggle with labour shortages and supplier price increases. When things are down, credit tightens up and sales drop.

But downturns also allow people and companies to become more innovative. More creative. And opportunities open up when sellers wanting to pass the torch are matched up with buyers looking to begin self employment.

At, that’s exactly what we do. We connect buyers and sellers using our unique matching algorithm based on identifiable, common attributes. We help you with all of the resources you need to close on a sale or purchase agreement. There is an ever growing inventory of businesses on our site and buyers looking for opportunities. Membership is as little as $12.99 a month. Best of all, no commission is ever charged on the sale of any business.

Take control of your future. Consider self employment and check out