The Engine That Runs America

Four generations of the Stahl family, with my mother Ricki in the center.

Four generations of the Stahl family, with my mother Ricki in the center.

I hope you all had a fantastic Thanksgiving weekend filled with family, friends and of course, great food. I did, with all the kids and grandkids around.  There is always a little TV watching going on somewhere in the house and I happened to see a commercial put on by Bank of America about small business loans. What I found interesting was the slogan: “Small business is the engine that runs America.” Or something to that effect. At least they got that right. There is also a book I ran across called “The Engine of America: The Secrets to Small Business Success From Entrepreneurs Who Have Made It!” I read the excerpt on the website and it is a book I will be ordering. Why? Because it is about a topic that is near and dear to my heart–most of our customers are small businesses and I know first hand the difficulties of succeeding when you are an entrepreneur. What makes one business succeed where another fails? Don’t all businesses start out with energy, a great idea, and something to sell? Usually, but when the economic situation changes, many people just don’t have the energy to step up and change with the times. I started putting together a list of what I believe sets a successful business apart. As well as an even longer list of specific ideas of things you can do to make your business successful in what I and many others are calling the “new economy.”  Let’s start with the first list–things successful entrepreneurs seem to have in common:

1) Curiosity–kids have this naturally but it seems to be stifled in many by the time they get out of high school.

2) Creativity–what can you do that is different from what everyone else is doing?

3) The ability to look at yourself from the standpoint of your customer–this is extremely important!

4) An obsession to bust apart problems and figure out solutions–how can you do it better, faster, cheaper?

5) Not being afraid of asking questions, or approaching people–Good things come to those who ask, at least according to Jack Canfield, Chicken Soup for the Soul author.

I will continue with this list in another blog entry soon…and I will also work on finishing up my second list of specific ideas. For now, I’ll leave you with this quote from a person whose curiosity drove him his entire life, Leonardo DaVinci, which pretty much sums up the life of an entrepreneur. At least it does for me:

“Life is pretty simple: You do some stuff. Most fails. Some works. You do more of what works. If it works big, others quickly copy it. Then you do something else. The trick is the doing something else.” Well said Leonardo, well said.

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