May 17, 2019

Stand and Deliver

Stand and Deliver

You may have seen the headlines that Jeff Bezos is offering Amazon employees up to $10,000 of start-up capital and three months’ salary if they quit and start their own business, delivering for Amazon. I’m not surprised he needs help getting packages to customers, now that Prime subscribers can get free one-day delivery. Perhaps someone in my family could apply and we can cut out the middle man.

This could be a great opportunity for Amazon employees who’ve been looking for a way to go into business for themselves, especially if they already own a vehicle. It’s not every day that someone offers you free startup capital. An earlier version of this program, which Amazon launched to build a network of independent delivery drivers, has already given rise to more than 200 new businesses.

For those with the entrepreneurial spark and drive to make it work, this could be the ticket to a business that brings in more income than the hourly wages they are earning. That’s especially true if they can scale up beyond the stage where they are doing all of the driving themselves. Many of the middle-market firms we serve at Marcum started out as tiny businesses run by one or two people and have gone on to create hundreds if not thousands of jobs.

That said, I hope Amazon will give any would-be delivery company owners some idea of what it really takes to start and run a business before it accepts their two-weeks’ notice. Many people fall in love with the idea of being their own boss and controlling their own hours but with those freedoms come a lot of responsibility and accountability.

As all of you entrepreneurs out there know, it takes hard work and a daily, ongoing commitment to build and maintain a thriving business and keep customers happy. My guess is Amazon is a pretty tough taskmaster when it comes to working with delivery vendors, since fast delivery is the company’s bread and butter. Someday, those deliveries will be shipping in hours, not days, no doubt. Delivery companies will have to stay on their toes to keep up.

Hopefully, they will also realize that it’s never a good idea to depend too heavily on any one customer or source of business – even if that customer is the one that got you started.

If you want to stay in business, you’ve got to diversify. It’s one of the best ways to grow your business and insulate yourself from unpredictable events that can affect your sales. That’s just as true in a middle-market firm as it is for someone driving a delivery van.

For midsize firms, it may be worth looking at how to diversify your supply chain, too. Given this week’s headlines about trade wars, there’s no such thing as being too prepared for the unexpected – no matter what size business you run.

Sunday starts Marcum’s first Industry Exchange, followed Monday by our annual Partner Retreat, both taking place this year in Orlando, FL. Many of us will spend Sunday into Monday focusing on several of the industries Marcum has targeted for growth in most of the markets where we operate. And then it’s the entire partner group, starting Monday through Wednesday, for our annual strategic planning sessions. So if you’re looking for any of us or experience longer than normal response time, know where we are and what we’re doing. It’s all about making Marcum a better choice for our clients and associates.