Mark Cuban pointed out on his blog last week that President Elect Obama has made his first mistake: he failed to appoint a single entrepreneur to his economic advisory team, when it is clear that “entrepreneurs that start and run small businesses will be the propellant in this economy.” He suggested that the new President should “ask the people who are actually starting new businesses what they need,” so that the government doesn’t adopt policies that will backfire by hurting entrepreneurs.
This morning I watched a 1 hour documentary on the Biography Channel about Sam Walton, the founder of Wal-Mart, who by 1985 was the richest man in the United States. It was especially interesting to see how he grew up during the Great Depression, and how many of his values and goals were shaped by watching his father eek out a living during the depression.
After WWII, Sam bought a five-and-dime store that was losing money and turned it around by experimenting with a new retail trend called self-service, where the customers actually browsed for their own merchandise rather than asking a clerk to get it for him. His store sales tripled. Within three years he had repaid the $20,000 startup capital he had borrowed from his father-in-law, and he was ready to expand. However, the building owner decided not to renew his lease, so Sam lost his store location.
The documentary explained the obstacles and hardships Sam Walton faced on his way to becoming the most successful retailer in the history of the world. One decision he made in 1961 that I found particularly interesting (it made me smile) was when he bought controlling interest in an Arkansas bank so he could lend himself more money to open more retail stores. Now that is creative, out of the box thinking, for an entrepreneur!
You can read about the history of Wal-Mart at FundingUniverse, along with thousands of other company histories. Many of them contain amazing stories of entrepreneurs overcoming hard times along their path to success.
Next week, Utah Entrepreneurs have a chance to learn about steps they can take along their road to entrepreneurial success. On Thursday, November 20th, an important event for entrepreneurs and Utah angel investors will take place:
Starting Nov. 17th, Utah joins more than 100 countries and organizations representing millions of entrepreneurs to celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week. A highlight of Utah’s celebration is a day-long entrepreneur and angel investing event on Thursday, Nov. 20th.
The one-day event – “Unleashing Ideas: Igniting High-Growth Entrepreneurship in Utah” – takes place Thursday, Nov. 20, from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. at Sandy’s South Towne Exposition Center. Entrepreneurs, angel investors, venture capitalists, and experts in numerous core service industries will attend.
The Nov. 20th conference features the third annual Angel Summit, attracting angel investors throughout the state. Angel investors are high net-worth individuals who fund early-stage, high-potential business opportunities. Registration and additional information are available via http://www.GewUtah.com. (Source: UtahPulse.com)
I have agreed to participate all-day in this conference by chairing one of the tracks that will address the needs of entrepreneurs and inventors who need help raising capital or doing online marketing.
There is a quality program planned with multiple tracks, and I encourage all Utah entrepeneurs to spread the word and turn this into a well-attended event.
Against the backdrop of national economic crisis, let’s take a day to brainstorm with each other what entrepreneurs can do to create value and generate positive economic activity that will help us, as previous generations have done, claw our way back to prosperity through hard work and innovation.
I’ll see you there.