Growthink Blog

Is The American Dream Really Just a Mirage?


In spite of the so-called business media’s fixation on tales of America’s demise, U.S. entrepreneurial activity is at its highest point in 15 years, with over 550,000 new businesses created each month in this country!

Never have so many owed so much to so few. America’s entrepreneurs are ambitious leaders – courageously pursuing growth opportunities, and assuming accountability for the inherent risks and outcomes.

They are hard at work worldwide at startups and at small and middle market companies across this great land.

Quite simply, they are – in true Horatio Alger spirit – fast in pursuit of the American Dream.

But Is This Dream a Mirage?

Well, while it is well known that over 90% of businesses fail within 10 years, what is lesser known is that the typical entrepreneur earns less money, has worse benefits, works more hours, and has more stress – including losing sleep and getting in more conflicts with their spouses and others - compared to those that work for someone else,

But it gets worse – even when most entrepreneurs grow their businesses to a point of seeming strong success - $1 million, $5 million, $10 million in revenues and more - most of them still don’t realize their personal and financial dreams.

They work too much, have too much stress, not enough time with loved ones, and not enough money (and the up to 50% federal and state tax rates don’t help matters, of course).


There are over 930,000 “pentamillionaires” – individuals with personal net worths of greater than $5 million - in the United States today.

And more than 80% of these fortunate few were / are entrepreneurs who founded a business AND then SOLD that business.

You see, the often misunderstood, but simple reality of entrepreneurship is that SELLING a business, not running one, is where REAL wealth is made.

Now sure, selling a business has gotten tougher than ever – tightening credit markets means less money available to finance acquisitions and the very fact of more businesses out there means more businesses for sale.

And in spite of our increasingly fast economy, it is actually taking LONGER to sell a business than ever.

In 1978, the average time it took to sell a business was 57 days. Today, it is over 270 days!

And it gets worse - only 17% of listed businesses EVER actually sell.


So what is one to do?

Well, first of all take solace in the fact that in America and around the world every month literally thousands of businesses sell for millions and millions of dollar.

And then put your plan together.

Jay Turo

Share this article:

Tmcards says

This American Dream is not a Mirage. Things will improve over time.
Posted at 2:35 am