On the surface, the most successful small businesses usually aren’t that different from the competition. They sell the same products at similar prices, but when you examine success, the one thing that usually sets them apart is their culture….
The Internet has brought us all a treasure trove of content. From a good Netflix binge to the free courses offered by Stanford University, there's a lot online to consume, more than one could in a lifetime. Much of it is indeed cat videos and pointless arguments, but the small business owner can find reliable gold mines if they know where to look...
Can you believe tomorrow is the fourth of July already? This year has flown. And in the spirit of Independence Day, we've created an entrepreneur's declaration of independence to inspire all you budding small business owners out there. Share your own in the comments!
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all people are created equal, that they are endowed with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. (This part stays! Why mess with a good thing, right?)
We have the right to purse our dreams.
We have the right to be nervous about stepping off the corporate ladder to start our own businesses.
We have the right to create our own jobs and do work that makes us happy—whether that's starting your own stationary company, constructing tables from reclaimed wood, opening the first Indian restaurant in your hometown or building a kick-ass inventory management software.
We have the right to participate actively in our communities to support policies that help make small businesses stronger.
We have the right to laugh in the face of 9-5 workweeks, to make our own schedules and to take time off to breathe and recharge with our families. (Bring on the barbecue!)
We have independence from the paperwork and red tape we've left behind at our desk jobs.
We have the right to see the business world differently—that doing good and turning a profit can be complementary goals.
We have the right to celebrate our small victories with big fireworks.
We have the right to feel grateful to be able to follow our passions, create jobs and change the world.
Happy Fourth of July, everybody!
Yesterday we tuned in to the American Express OPEN Forum for a talk by best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell, who spoke about the immense power of the entrepreneurial spirit. In his recent book David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants, he investigates instances where the little guy’s resiliency and unconventional approach wildly outweigh the perceived advantages of the big guy.In other words, successful small business owners are able to shake things up in ways that big business simply can’t.
Gladwell used several examples to demonstrate this idea, but the first and most adorable was a story about a scrappy, uncoordinated basketball team of 12-year old girls who could barely shoot but learned how to win. How? Because they didn’t play the game the way everybody else did. They spent all their energy disrupting the other teams with ruthless full-court press defense (well, ruthless for 12-year olds). Against all odds they ended up making it to the championship that year.
Much like a smart startup, these girls shook things up. They focused on what they could do vs. what they couldn’t. They forced their competition to play by their rules. They took risks. And they surprised everyone.
We're rooting for you.