This year’s Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) kicks off on November 17. The worldwide event came about in 2007 as a way to bring creators, entrepreneurs, and other “big idea” people together from around the world to discuss their ideas and how they can make the world a better place through innovation.
In honor of the event, here are nine pieces of wisdom from the faces of Global Entrepreneurship week. The GEW faces stand as ambassadors for entrepreneurs around the world. They have spoken at GEW-sponsored events, and use their clout to rally entrepreneurs around each other and raise the flag for innovation in all corners of the world.
Related Article: 10 Great Pieces of Entrepreneurial Advice From 2014
Get inspired by these great men and women and consider hosting a GEW event in your own area.
Passion Trumps Money Every Time
It’s clear that passion and a philanthropic side to his entrepreneurial spirit drives Blake Mycoskie, the Founder and self-described “Chief Shoe Giver” of TOMS Shoes. TOMS’ business model is founded on giving back.
When asked about starting a company, and whether the founding principle should be motivated by either money or passion, Mycoskie said:
“I believe that it should be based off your passion – it proves to be a different type of motivation when you actually care about what you are doing versus just doing it for the bottom line.”
Caring is key to creating a business that makes an impact.
Change Course When Necessary
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton famously used the Fleetwood Mac classic, “Don’t Stop (Thinking About Tomorrow)” as his campaign theme song when he ran for his first term in office in 1992. In the subsequent decades, Clinton continues to be forward minded.
"The price of doing the same old thing is far higher than the price of change.” Tweet this quote!
If something isn’t working, it is less costly to create a new solution than to leak revenue by continuing to do something that is not right for your business or its model.
Related Article: 6 Signs from Childhood You’re a Born Entrepreneur
More Opportunities for Women Yield More Opportunity for All
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been an example for strong, qualified women who conduct their civic duties with dignity, drive, and compassion. The glass ceiling still exists for many women, but Hillary Clinton has encouraged men and women to work together to break through it.
At the 2011 APEC Summit, Clinton spoke about the importance of supporting female entrepreneurs in that they lend valuable insight to typically male-dominated industries. Moreover, a recent survey showed that 56% of female entrepreneurs planned to hire more employees in 2014 and 2015 compared to 50% of male entrepreneurs. Clinton said that:
“There is a stimulative and ripple effect that kicks in when women have greater access to jobs and the economic lives of our countries…By harnessing the economic potential of all women, we boost opportunity for all people.”
Mark Cuban, businessman and owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, advises entrepreneurs to go against the grain and try something different:
"When you've got 10,000 people trying to do the same thing, why would you want to be number 10,001?" Tweet this quote!
In terms of business, it makes more sense to take a risk on a fresh new idea than to offer more of the same. While an older idea may demonstrate a proven model for success, if other companies are already performing well in a niche, it’s up to you to innovate and give the world what it does not yet have.
Related Article: Unexpectedly Successful Business Ideas
Foursquare co-founder Dennis Crowley never let something that didn’t exist hinder his progress. The social network entrepreneur advises:
"If there's something you want to build, but the tech isn't there yet, just find the closest possible way to make it happen."
As an entrepreneur, you may not always have access to all the tools you need. Instead, seek out the ones you have access to and move forward from there!
When You Fail, Pivot Your Plan
President Barack Obama offered strong insights into failure and bouncing back in his book The Audacity of Hope:
“I began to harbor doubts about the path I had chosen; I began feeling the way I imagine an actor or athlete must feel when, after years of commitment to a particular dream, after years of waiting tables between auditions or scratching out hits in the minor leagues, he realizes that he's gone just about as far as talent or fortune will take him. The dream will not happen, and he now faces the choice of accepting this fact like a grown-up and moving on to more sensible pursuits, or refusing the truth and ending up bitter, quarrelsome, and slightly pathetic.”
When the President of the United States admits to having had feelings of self-doubt at one point, it highlights that anyone can feel a little lost at times. Sometimes, you have to relinquish one dream to focus on one you can fulfill. Just because you fail at one venture, it does not mean you will fail at everything you try. Know when to scrap your plan and start dreaming a new dream.
Be Good to People
Richard Branson, the mogul behind Virgin, was once named the “ideal boss.” Beyond his genial nature, entrepreneurial spirit and flexibility, he believes in unlimited vacation time for his employees. What makes Branson such an inspirational leader is that he recognizes that a company is more than its CEO. A company is made up of people who help further its mission. Your employees are more likely to take your mission personally if they feel they are valued.
“Having a personality of caring about people is important,” said Branson. “You can’t be a good leader unless you generally like people. That is how you bring out the best in them."
Be About Your Brand
The best brands own their identity. They know who their audience and followers are and make a connection with them. They foster a sense of community and brand identity. Rapper Snoop Dogg understands the power of branding and has evolved from his 1990s image as a hardened outsider to having become a part of the popular culture and business landscape.
"A lot of brands, you can't touch them,” said Snoop. “When you're dealing with Snoop Dogg, he brings you closer to the brand and it feels like it's a part of you."
Snoop’s lesson speaks to entrepreneurs urging them make sure their brand feels inclusive. Get your customers on your side by showing them that you are on their side.
Businessman, fashion and music mogul Russell Simmons didn’t become a success by taking failure lightly. Although Simmons has been wildly successful with Def Jam Records and as the mind behind a number of apparel lines, for every success, Simmons had a few failures under his belt. Yet, he never stopped trying to create and innovate.
Simmons cheers on other entrepreneurs with these words:
"Be encouraged. Stay on your hustle. You can't fail until you quit." Tweet this quote!