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Entrepreneurship and innovation make for good business

Leanne Hoagland-Smith. | Provided photo~Sun-Times Media

Leanne Hoagland-Smith. | Provided photo~Sun-Times Media

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According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2007 the greatest percentage of small businesses where entrepreneurial single office/home office. These small business owners with no employees represented more than 78 percent of all U.S. businesses.

• Total businesses stood at 27,757,676

• Non-employed with 0 employees at 21,708,021 or 78.7 percent

• Firms with 1-4 employees at 3,705,275 or 13.3 percent

• Firms with 5-9 employees at 1,060,250 or 3.8 percent

• Firms with 10-19 employees at 644,842 or 2.3 percent

• Firms with 20-99 employees at 532,391 or 1.9 percent

• Firms with 100-499 employees at 88,586 or .32 percent

• Firms with 500 employees at 18,311 or .066 percent

Source: US Census Bureau - http://www.census.gov/econ/smallbus.html

Without a doubt there are a lot of entrepreneurs in the United States.

There are many definitions for what makes an entrepreneur or what entrepreneurship is. One classic definition from more than 30 years ago comes from Harvard Business School professor Howard Stevenson, who suggested that entrepreneurship is “the pursuit of opportunity without regard to resources currently controlled.”

Other definitions focus on specific characteristics such as risk taking, organizational skills, out of the box thinker, etc. Stevenson’s definition is more a process-focused and why it works well with innovation as innovation is also a process.

Entrepreneurs look for opportunities where something currently exists and how they can improve it or renew it. This seeking of opportunities is all about innovation and changing the current status quo as discussed in last week’s column.

Small business owners who devote time to rethink how they are providing solutions (products or services) to better meet the wants and the needs of their customers will usually stay ahead of the flow. These folks are not wasting their time worrying about:

• Yesterday events

• Today’s problems from yesterday’s events

• What they cannot control

• Their competition

No, these forward thinking business leaders are using their limited time to think and plan how they can build a better mousetrap.

For example, after attending hundreds of webinars both free and paid, I realized most deliver 60 minutes of poor to good content that could be much better digested in 30 minutes of great content thus saving crazy-busy small business owners to sales professionals time and money.

On Oct. 1, I launched a new solution, “60 Minutes of Good Content into 30 Minutes of Great Content” webinars. The focus is on the attendee -- not on me bloviating about everything I have done -- and content that is truly high quality and relevant.

As stated before, innovation is about changing something old into something new to meet the changing marketplace. Webinars have been around for years and as had their predecessors, teleconferences. What has changed is the resource of time and time is in short supply.

If you are entrepreneur, you may wish to consider scheduling some down time to rethink your current solutions and determine how you innovate. The world is changing.

Remember, Wells Fargo started out in the transportation business. I have not seen any stagecoaches recently traveling the roads in Northwest Indiana.

Next week’s column will look at innovation and entrepreneurship with Oct. 22 discussing failure and innovation. On Oct. 29, because it is so close to Halloween, the magic of innovation and creativity will be the main topic.

P.S. Shout out: With Autumn here, consider a trip to your local nursery such as Garden’s on the Prairie in Lowell or Tower Acres in Valparaiso.



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