In Articles, Business, Entrepreneurship

Five entrepreneurial lessons learned from the history books. The 4th of July is a time to celebrate American independence. It’s also a time to reflect on the qualities that make America great – including entrepreneurship. Here are five entrepreneurial lessons from the 4th of July that can help you be a successful business owner:

  1. 1. Keep Hustling
  2. 2. Don’t Stop Inventing
  3. 3. Non-Financial Struggles are Harder than Financial Struggles
  4. 4. Calculated risks are the Best Kinds of Risks
  5. 5. No Great Ideas Has Ever Been Created Without a Long Fight

Today, most of the country took a day to enjoy excellent BBQ, see fireworks, and spend time with family and friends in order on the Fourth of July. But tomorrow, most Americans will return to work. That has prompted us to consider how discoveries occur. They’re comparable to the technological innovation that sparked American independence.

Independence Must Be Declared Before Freedom Can Be Maintained

This picture was captured while shooting a Shark Tank video in Kansas City.

The most important takeaway is: Independence must be declared before freedom can be maintained.

Consider the history of US independence. In 1776, the United States declared its independence, but the Revolutionary War didn’t conclude until November of 1783. That makes it one of the longest conflicts in US history. Our founders sewed flags and sang songs and shed their blood for a nation that wasn’t recognized by anybody else. They defied what everyone else said could not be done.

There may be no greater truth for entrepreneurs than this. Starting a small business entails believing in a concept before anybody else does, and fighting for years to make it a reality. Great entrepreneurs, like America’s founding fathers, have the tenacity to bend reality to their will in order to bring an idea to fruition.

Here are five entrepreneurial lessonsfor  small business owners:

No Matter What the World Tells You, Keep Hustling

barber in omaha getting photographed

Arlan Peak is one of the great entrepreneurial stories in Omaha.

You’ve got to be the first to believe in your ideas, your team, and the path your small business is going in before anybody else, and you must take strong action. When Washington made the daring decision to cross the Delaware River, he had just suffered several major defeats and it looked like the colonists’ little revolution was on its way out.

According to legend, Thomas Edison claimed that he had discovered 6,000 methods not to invent the light bulb. But he persisted. I’ve seen this tenacity in the workplace. We started 316 Strategy Group nearly a decade ago. And when we started, there was nothing like it serving small businesses. Add to that fact that historically, small businesses are somewhat allergic to marketing firms and their new ideas. But it wasn’t without a lot of effort working on something the rest of the world said would be a waste of time. Keep hustling and continue reading our list of entrepreneurial lessons for small business owners.

Don’t Ever Stop Inventing

 a man holding a flag on a sidewalk

Brett Boyer, the founder of Center Sphere, was recently named Entrepreneur of the year.

The new economy’s next big winners will be people who use their brains and continue to fight for new heights. In the winter of 1777, Washington had already seen the war turning in favor of the Americans. But he didn’t settle for a regular, consistent progression forward. He continued with daring actions, such as his highly controversial decision to require all of his troops to cross the Delaware River on Christmas night to attack the Hessian mercenaries in Trenton, New Jersey.

The riskiest business ventures are always going to be those that feel like they’re not worth doing because there’s no guarantee of success. But that’s what it takes to win big. So don’t ever stop inventing;

Steve Jobs, for example, could have stopped with the extremely successful creation of the Mac. But he never stopped moving forward and informing us what we needed before we even knew it. The iPhone was invented in 2007 and has revolutionized communication, internet design, and our daily life.

At 316 Strategy Gropu, we’ve continued to experience a lot of growth over the last five years, which we could settle for. But there was one particular year that was more challenging for us than the others. It was 2019. On December 6th of 2019, we felt inspired by the passing of a dear friend of 316 Strategy Group. We used that inspiration to “declare war” on the upcoming quarter and we started rolling out new innovations to change our reality. When planning for the first quarter of 2020, we strategized about ways to achieve big-hairy-audacious goals and to overcome the upcoming quarter-long before it occurred. Looking back our risks paid off, but it’s important to note that we declared victory long before it actually happened. Our notes from an impromptu meeting in rural America foreshadowed what was about to happen.

Our next tip about non-financial struggles may be the most important tip from our entrepreneurial lessons for small business owners.

Non-financial Struggles are More Difficult and Crucial Than Financial Ones

316 Strategy Group on a film shoot for a local Omaha non-profit.

The most significant choices you make in business may not have anything to do with sales and income. This was also true during the Revolution. Two keys to American success had nothing to do with troops or ammunition. Many historians believe that religion played a crucial role in motivating the colonists and perhaps even triggering victory. The work of a 24-year-old widow named Betsy Ross is also credited with helping to win the war. Betsy sewed the first American flag, which was raised by George Washington at the Battle of Trenton.

Consider your company’s growth decisions. What non-financial objectives should you be setting right now for the second half of the year? Many times, these are the most lucrative dividends. When 316 Strategy Group first began, we didn’t have any clear values or goals. We were just experimenting to see what worked best for us. Finally, our founding partners sat down and discussed our core values and what was making us successful. Nearly a decade later, we’re happy to say we are succeeding in creating a culture we once dreamt of.

It didn’t happen by chance, though. It occurred because we first made a decision about the type of business we wanted to run and then worked hard to make it a reality. We’re still learning as we go along, but we’ve made culture a more prominent concern on the frontline.

Focus on non-financial struggles and your small business will take flight! This may be one of the least appreciated tips in our list of entrepreneurial lessons for small business owners.

Calculated Risks Are The Best Kinds of Risks

a group of business owners in a radio station

316 Strategy Group pictured with several entrepreneurs at Boomer Radio in Omaha.

It’s not uncommon for friends, family members, and colleagues to say things to our founding partners like, “Oh, it must be great to be your own boss,” or “You can do whatever you want since you own your company.” However, none of those people who say these things have ever owned a business. We’re learning that entrepreneurial life is a balancing act between taking daring risks and calculating the odds of success.

According to some historians, we never should have won the American Revolution based on numbers. We were outgunned and outnumbered. Washington took a huge chance by starting this war; it wasn’t a stupid move. He built on small successes, devised new methods of combat, and used inventive thinking to outsmart the Brits.

It’s vital to strike a balance between aspiring to bigger things while also keeping an eye on what is realistic. Jack Welch, the former Chairman, and CEO of General Electric had three rules about looking ahead in business:

  1. You’ve got to eat while you dream.
  2. You’ve got to fulfill short-range obligations while formulating a long-term vision and putting it into action.
  3. Set your sights as high as you want but you must be willing to work towards smaller goals on the way there.

As a business owner and entrepreneur, you must also consider the environment in which you operate. Once you’ve decided on the risky bet you’re aiming for, assess your current situation and devise a practical solution. Ensure that you have all of the necessary components in place to put your plan into action. If your objective appears too ambitious now, what smaller goals might you set to get there?

In the end, it’s up to you to decide whether a risk is worth taking. But remember, without risk, there can be no reward.

Continue reading our list of entrepreneurial lessons for small business owners.

No Great Ideas Has Ever Been Created Without a Long Fight

Are you having a challenging year in your business? No great idea has ever been created without a long fight. Take a page from Washington and the early Americans. Declare victory before it’s won. Never give up taking calculated chances. And keep battling, even if the rest of the world hasn’t recognized your accomplishments yet.

The entrepreneurial lessons learned from the American Revolution may be the key to your ultimate breakthrough in business.

Our team is here to help you cross your “Delaware River” and take your business to new heights.

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