Dramatically changing a bad or even mediocre workplace where the institutional culture is deeply rooted can be very difficult or — from any realistic standpoint — nearly impossible. Don’t get me wrong: It can be done, but oftentimes entrenched, insular core groups make it very difficult to do so.
And with our economy in trouble, companies shutting down, and jobs disappearing, we need new businesses to enter the fray — ones that offer quality goods and services and that respect the dignity and well-being of their workers.
Starting a new business is much, much easier said than done. However, for those who are thinking about it, there are plenty of helpful sources to guide you. Here are three good ones:
Uncle Sam: Beyond Bailout Cash
The federal Small Business Administration offers a wealth of information and assistance to individuals planning to start small businesses, including free online courses, business planning and start-up advice, and small business loans and grants. If you’ve ever even toyed with the idea of starting your own business, the SBA website is worth your visit: http://www.sba.gov/.
Schooling for Entrepreneurship
Even if you don’t have prior training in running a business, you don’t need an MBA to become an entrepreneur. A growing number of universities and adult education centers offer non-degree certificate programs and courses in how to start a business.
For example, Boston University School of Management offers a well-regarded online graduate certificate program in entrepreneurship. It’s a practical-minded, four-course sequence for individuals who have a business idea and want skills to help make it a reality: www.bu.edu/online/online_programs/certificate_programs/entrepreneurship.html.
Building a Great Place to Work
We don’t need more bad workplaces, so let’s concentrate on creating new great (or even good!) ones. Helpful towards this objective is the Great Place to Work Institute (http://www.greatplacetowork.com/), created by one-time business and labor reporter Robert Levering, author of A Great Place to Work (2000 ed.). Levering’s book and GPWI’s publications can help budding entrepreneurs understand the vital role of healthy, productive work environments towards building successful and sustainable new businesses.