Things to Think (Big) About

Many of you know I’ve traveled frequently the last few years in my role as a national board member for the National Association of Business Owners. I’ve had the privilege to meet and listen to a number of accomplished business owners, political leaders and thought leaders. When I leave meetings or conference sessions, I’m always bursting with information and ideas I want to share.

A few weeks ago, I attended the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business Summit in Washington, DC, and again set my iPad on overdrive with copious note-taking. With speakers such as Gary Vaynerchuk; several panels of successful entrepreneurs; the retired CEO of McDonald’s USA; U.S. SBA Administrator Karen Mills; political consultants James Carville and Mary Matalin; and others, I nearly wore out my stylus.

Some of their most interesting thoughts are summarized below. I’ll be writing blogs over the next few weeks to share more of their ideas.

Edward H. Rensi, retired president and CEO of McDonald’s USA—Small business cannot underestimate their power. With 99.7 percent of all businesses with under 500 employees, why are there still so many roadblocks?

Naveen Jain, Founder, Intelius, philanthropist, entrepreneur and a technology pioneer—

On growing a business: How do we get big? How do we come up with the ideas? What do you have to do to create a $1 billion business? Not by solving a $1 million problem. Small business does not get big by starting small and hoping to get big.

You have to dream big. Entrepreneurs have to shoot for the moon. If the US government can get there, each of us can. Think big and then execute small. Understand what you must do tactically, one thing after the other, to get there. Dreaming big takes the same amount of effort as building a small business

On the public education system in America: The problem with the education system is it was meant for the industrial age. The world changes too much now, and we need to teach how to learn . . . Don’t talk about leaving a better country for our children, talk about leaving better children for our country.

On the difference between visionaries and entrepreneurs: Entrepreneurship is not about starting a company; it’s about solving problems. People who see the problem are called visionaries; people who do something about it are entrepreneurs. It’s not about great ideas. It’s about the execution of those ideas. There are lots of visionaries who die poor.

Gary Vaynerchuk, author of the Thank You Economy—He’s not a tech enthusiast and doesn’t care about the gadgets. He just wants to sell stuff. He says that every business owner is in only one business: the attention business—capturing eyes and ears. To do that, we must tell a good story and convert.

Innovation doesn’t care about anybody. It just moves. And some people are trying to push it back but it doesn’t wait.

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About Smart Companies Thinking Bigger®

Kelly Scanlon is the owner and publisher of Thinking Bigger Business Media. She recently finished a term on the national board of directors of the National Association of Women Business Owners, and was the national chair from 2010-2011. An advocate for small business owners, Kelly sits on numerous boards and committees to advocate on behalf of small business owners. She has won several awards for her advocacy. Among them are the 2011 United Nations NGO Positive Peace Award on behalf of Kansas City area small business owners, the U.S. Small Business Administration's Region VII Women's Business Champion of the Year in 2009, and the Women in Business Advocate of the Year from the State of Kansas in 2006. In 2002, she won the SBA's Region VII Small Business Journalist of the Year Award (Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas). Whatever your business stage—aspiring, startup, established, mature—Thinking Bigger Business Media has the resources you need to grow to the next level. We are a resource organization dedicated to providing the strategic, "how-to" information small business owners need to become more productive and more profitable. We also provide information that helps owners connect with resources within the business community that can help them grow. We deliver that information through a variety of media products and other channels easily accessible to business owners.
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