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Only 28.1% of Europeans think it is feasible to start a company in the next five years – how wrong can an entire continent be?

By on July 2, 2010
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I just read a post on Nic Brisbourne’s The Equity Kicker which left me speechless.

Entitled “European attitudes to entrepreneurship – still behind the US and in some cases going backwards”, it summarised an EU report on entrepreneurialism.

It makes depressing reading. Here’s the kicker for me:

“Only 28.1% of all Europeans think it feasible to start a business within the next five years (in 2007 the figure was still at 31.4%; in the US it has even increased from 43.5% to 48.7%.)”

I disagree so strongly I don’t know where to begin. I don’t think that there has been a better time to start a business for a decade or more.

Where to begin?

  • Permission: You don’t need it. With new distribution channels, you can find your consumers, anywhere in the world, via the Internet. Gone are the days of kow-towing to distributors and gatekeepers to help shift your product; you only need to get them onside once demand for your product has grown.
  • Marketing: This is still critical, but easier for start-ups than ever before. Find small groups of people who like your stuff. Support them. Give them good service. The word will spread. (Read anything by Seth Godin to learn how to do this really well.)
  • Recruitment: The web has made it much easier to find like-minded people. Hang out in forums. Chat online. Attend events (OK, that’s not got much to do the web) and follow up. A lot of people are keen to do cool stuff, and will help you out.
  • Market: This one is pretty self-referential. If so few people are doing start-ups, you are facing less competition – for staff, for customers, for press attention and for finance.

The macroeconomic situation is going to be horrid for some time to come. What a great time to be an entrepreneur.

I haven’t felt so optimistic in years. How about you?

About Nicholas Lovell

Nicholas is the founder of Gamesbrief, a blog dedicated to the business of games. It aims to be informative, authoritative and above all helpful to developers grappling with business strategy. He is the author of a growing list of books about making money in the games industry and other digital media, including How to Publish a Game and Design Rules for Free-to-Play Games, and Penguin-published title The Curve: thecurveonline.com
  • zoombapup

    Indie games. I recently started MindFlock to create social and AI based games. Still working on the details, but I'll have a game shipped by the end of the year.

  • Congratulations on making the jump. Is the “indie” thing indie games, or did you just mean not working for a big organisation?

  • zoombapup

    I agree absolutely. I've been on the verge of doing my indie thing fulltime for almost 6 years now and finally I'm doing it. I've been working in the public sector and the huge amounts of crap coming at us public sector workers really drives me towards doing my own thing. As you say, there are tons of opportunities and ways to connect with people now. Although it definitely needs a lot of work, I'm happy to put that in.