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Does free business opportunity really exist?

It’s amazing to see how the economic cycles and fears repeat themselves over and over, and how these cycles have
become faster and nastier over these last few decades.

For some small and mid-sized businesses, these trends have become a devastating force. If you are from my generation, that is, generation X, you’ve grown up in a business environment that runs and turns from one financial crisis straight into another.

This type of environment doesn’t give small or mid-sized business owners much opportunity to grow, survive or sometimes, keep the doors open.

Just recently, while speaking with a friend of mine who owns a successful business in Egypt, it hit me… he said “Canada is a beautiful country and I am grateful for it, but man, making a living here is just so hard!”

But how can this be?  Is Canada not supposed to be the land of opportunity? What happened to the so
called dream?

I own a small business myself, and my partners and I work 60 to 70 hours a week, each. We are all university educated, and have 15 to 20 years of industry experience under our belts. We listen to good advice, do our research and make changes to our business strategies when needed.  Everyone we work with and speak with say we are doing it right, but home how come our sales and opportunities are becoming harder and harder to come by?

We, as all business owners should, focus on sound business practices and principles, and we put in more than our fair share of elbow grease, but it does seem and feel like our so called “free market” is really nothing but a fool’s dream.  It really does feel like today’s business world has become the realm of Milton Friedman’s natural monopolies.

Monopoly, as a theoretical economic construct, prevails when barriers to entry exist because one firm can operate
at a lower marginal cost than its competitors. Once competitors have been stamped out, the monopoly firm can raise prices, restrict output and hurt consumers.  Sounds familiar?

How is it possible that the “big boys” have created and imposed supplier requirements, licensing, certifications or other mechanisms like anti-competitive subsidization or tariff protection, which impose hefty costs to small or mid-sized business owners and hamper their ability to provide their services fairly on the market?

Or that many of these same large corporation are allowed to hire or purchase services abroad without the slightest concern for social welfare or justice, while smaller companies like yours or mine would be run of town for doing something similar?

Look, I get it, we all have to put our time in the trenches, and try our best to offer good quality services at a fair
price.  But when the playing field isn’t level, what are smaller business to do?

Please feel free to provide your feedback and ideas on how small and mid sized businesses can compete and survive when competing for business.

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