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.