Start-Ups: Here to Stay

...despite what the headlines say.
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This story appears in the March 2001 issue of Startups. Subscribe »

Stop me if you've heard this one before: Thousands of start-ups walk into the so-called Internet revolution. Investors toss money at them like they're tossing candy to children from a parade float. The start-ups do really well for a while and spend lots of money. They start not to do so well. And without warning, seemingly overnight, countless dotcoms vanish like yesterday's news. Pretty funny joke, huh?

It's not a joke, of course. It's actually a tired refrain that's bought a significant chunk of real estate in national and international headlines for several months now. Indeed, the news about all the failed dotcoms is no longer news at all. It's about as fresh as a dented can of SPAM that made its way to the back of a pantry years ago and will never see the light of day.

Even the crop of dotcoms celebrating the failed dotcoms seems akin to that can of SPAM now. I don't think I can stomach one more article about how the image of start-ups has now been tarnished in the eyes of investors and the general public-how it was the hubris of young start-up entrepreneurs that got them their comeuppance. Gag.

Maybe there's an element of truth to the idea that many of the start-ups that failed did so because they didn't have a leader prepared to handle the rigors of entrepreneurship. But so what? There are plenty who were ready and are now thriving-the ones who took the time to start and grow their businesses in more traditional ways. Rather than pouring money into things like launch parties, they poured their efforts into steady growth, frugal spending and smart business plans-like every good start-up should do.

If there's one thing I don't tire of, it's this: There are a lot of start-ups out there that survived quite nicely, thank you, and there are plenty more to come. Yes, there will probably be more failures, more laid-off workers-and even more articles about the backlash against start-up entrepreneurs. But in the end, what matters most is the notion that sticking to basic business fundamentals is a pretty smart way to run a business. But you've heard that already, right?

Edition: July 2017

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