Please Show Some Love to Franchising on Small Business Saturday by AMEX

Many people that know me ask why I am so passionate about franchising and it’s minimized participation in Small Business Saturday by American Express. Well, the reason is continued confusion as to perceptions about franchising and that franchises are all big business.

McDonald’s comes to their minds as the typical franchise with large marketing budgets. The perception, as related to me eleven years ago by American Express executives was that the McDonald’s parent company pays for all marketing and that in and of itself creates a huge advantage for McDonald’s franchisees over local businesses. Obviously, this is totally off-course and couldn’t be further from the truth.

In any event, franchising has made some progress over the years as American Express has slowly expanded its efforts to allow franchises to participate in its Small Business Saturday program. Unfortunately, it still is not enough as limits continue to be imposed for franchise brands based upon the number of locations.

The number of locations is irrelevant when determining whether or not a business is considered small business, and a local business at that. It’s all about the individual location’s ownership. It’s about the investment made by the owner. It’s about the risks taken to pursue the American Dream of business ownership.

What is still being missed is the reality that thousands upon thousands of individuals that own franchises across our great Nation are basically in the same position as any Mom & Pop operator up and down Main Street USA. Yet, the majority are excluded from participating in Small Business Saturday events.

At the end of this article I’ve listed links to various articles chronicling my initial efforts to have American Express recognize franchising as small business. My concern now is that in addition to how the franchise business model is viewed by AMEX, how are other business models being viewed?

There’s a plethora of business models that have become quite popular for business ownership. I’m referring to home-based and virtual businesses. All are small businesses with many owned by individuals and families, no different than local Mom & Pop shop owners, the very target of American Express in its Small Business Saturday campaigns. If you disagree, please take a look at the typical image for the event depicting a small business storefront.

Other business models that are small business include sole practitioners offering professional services including real estate & insurance sales, financial planning, and the fast-growing coaching profession (business, life, health, and other areas of expertise). They’re really no different than the small business offering personal services such as hairstyling, massage, manicures & pedicures, and full-service spa experiences.

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I am happy to see of late, more attention given to restaurants with #DineSmall but it’s not enough. I’m not sure if that was an AMEX initiative, but it should be, and one that should be expanded to piggyback Small Business Saturday. After all, besides the large company-owned restaurant chains, all restaurants are small businesses. And like other small businesses, restaurants (and bars) are the brainchild of an individual or family or, if a franchise restaurant, they are owned & operated by individuals and families, just the same.

American Express explains its Small Business Saturday campaign on its website. It states, American Express cares deeply about thriving communities and believes small businesses are at the core of every thriving neighborhood. That’s why – in the midst of the recession in 2010 – we created Small Business Saturday® on the Saturday after Thanksgiving to encourage people to Shop Small and bring more holiday shopping to small businesses.

In 2011, the U.S. Senate even passed a resolution to support Small Business Saturday, and participation in the event has expanded to all 50 states. Read more about the history of Small Business Saturday HERE. Momentum continues to build, but is it enough for ALL small businesses?

Investopedia explains Small Business Saturday as an annual event that was created to encourage consumers to shop locally in person and online at small businesses. 

However, I don’t necessarily agree with some of the points made on the site as it specifically states this event is intended to encourage consumers to shop at small and locally owned businesses. That includes retail stores and restaurants as well as other small businesses, such as salons, grocery stores, and service-based businesses. It also extends to small businesses that exist online.

If there is any truth to the latter part of the statement, I’d have to say the efforts to promote the same are just not there, or certainly, are just not enough. To me, it may have been added as all encompassing lip-service.

Further, there is an Important Message on the Investopedia site that reads, Businesses must meet American Express guidelines regarding size and payment acceptance to be added to the Shop Small map.

So, is American Express more interested in driving AMEX card sales, or is it more interested in, as stated on the Investopedia site, to give small businesses a revenue boost during the holiday shopping season. Or, as referred to on various American Express sites, to help local communities thrive.

Please don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love the Small Business Saturday initiative. I thought it was great from day one which is why I encourage my franchise clients to participate across all locations. Unfortunately, that is what led to discovering the exclusion (and subsequent limitations) on franchise businesses.

Nevertheless, I still love Small Business Saturday. I just don’t want to see any small business owner left out. In other words, I’d love to see all small businesses promoted. I’d love to see all small business owners have the opportunity to benefit by the program.

As mentioned above, here are links to various articles about my initial efforts to include Franchising in the Small Business Saturday initiative:

11/21/11 Franchising Excluded from AMEX Small Business Saturday Events!

11/25/11 Was Franchising Slapped in the Face by American Express by Accident?

11/26/11 Franchises Excluded from Small Business Saturday – AMEX Responds!

11/29/11 AMEX Reassessing Policies for Small Business Saturday

11/24/12 Franchising Not [Completely] Respected by American Express!

11/30/13 Franchising Supports Small Business Saturday

Please help make a difference and encourage everyone you know to shop at franchises AND independent businesses on Small Business Saturday, as well as before and after this year’s event on November 26th. I suggest that each time they make a purchase at a franchise to let American Express know by using #ShopSmall in their social media activities along with #ShopFranchise. We must continue to let American Express know that franchises are small business, too.

We’re all in this together. We must all do what we can to strengthen our local communities and the businesses that support those communities.

Have a great day. Make it happen. Make it count!

“It is for these things that I pray, for I am an entrepreneur.”

As we continue celebrating National Entrepreneurship Month on this beautiful Sunday, a day I believe is one of reflection, I’d like to share The Entrepreneurs Prayer. This prayer was written by Rick Beneteau, co-creator of the breakthrough Make Every Day A Great Day Program.

The Entrepreneurs Prayer

As I awaken with the gift of yet another day and prepare for the tasks at hand, I offer up this most ardent prayer:

I pray for continued clarity of purpose so that I may hold my vision steady and keep my focus on the needs and success of others, which in turn shall bring me my success.

I pray for the wisdom to expect abundance in my life, that it surrounds me and is available for the taking and to be shameless and unapologetic upon its receipt, for I deserve abundance.

I pray for a cheerful countenance, be it clear or cloudy skies and that I may radiate and infect others with my positive attitude.

I pray for the trust of others that they may recognize my sincerity and true intentions so that we may move forward together.

I pray for the strength to fend off adversity and use my desire and determination as both weapon and shield.

I pray for the courage to carry forth my convictions during the battle of business and to resist temptation to a quicker monetary result when such temptation compromises these things for which I stand.

I pray that I may be used as a lightning rod to collect the amazing ideas already present in the universe and when blessed with such inspiration, that I may be able to apply my talents and abilities to turn the power of thought into measurable advancement of my goals.

I pray to retain my childhood wonder so that I can recognize and revel in the small miracles of each day that others may miss.

I pray for an infinite supply of self-confidence for it alone fortifies faith, strengthens my resolve and conquers the largest enemy I will ever face – fear.

I pray for a compassionate spirit and the patience to offer those who seek my advice and my help, my full and undivided attention.

I pray for good health and a feeling of well being, and the continued desire to improve those areas of my physical life I may be neglecting in the name of my spiritual and entrepreneurial advancement.

I pray that today is a day of excellence and at its conclusion I can acknowledge and be grateful for the forward motion I have made and the growth I have experienced.

I pray most of all for the understanding and support of those closest to my heart, my family, that they will equate what may seem like endless hours of apparent pre-occupation with affairs of business to what is at the very core of my being, that which drives me, for once I achieve what I have set out in its fullest, I will become that more complete being I strive to be.

It is for these things that I pray, for I am an entrepreneur.

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As we prepare to begin another week celebrating National Entrepreneurship Month, I’ve posted links below for the past week’s articles for anyone that may have missed an article or two:

Monday – Does acceptance help drive an entrepreneur forward?

Tuesday – Celebrating and Learning from Entrepreneurs

Wednesday – Recognizing Hispanic & Latino Entrepreneurship During National Entrepreneurship Month

Thursday – Celebrating Entrepreneurship: Looking Toward the Future While Learning From the Past

Friday – My Favorite Books About Entrepreneurship

Saturday – Entrepreneurship Beyond the Typical Business Model

I’ll leave you with the following to ponder as this morning I asked myself, What does God say about entrepreneurship?

Proverbs 20:4 (NIV) Here’s a lesson for entrepreneurs – always be on the lookout for opportunities that lead to a harvest. This verse is probably more about the virtues of having a willingness to work, but it also talks about working in season. With certain seasons come opportunities.

Have a great day. Make it happen. Make it count!

Entrepreneurship Beyond the Typical Business Model

What makes entrepreneurship so great is the multitude of ways one may become an entrepreneur. From operating a corner lemonade stand to developing a full-service restaurant to building a business around a sophisticated app, entrepreneurship takes on many forms.

Entrepreneurs come from every walk of life albeit with common denominators of imagination, creativity, and innovation. These are the tenets of the entrepreneurial spirit. This is especially the case as one looks beyond the business models typically associated with entrepreneurship.

Today, we’ll revisit an article, Arts Entrepreneurship that first appeared in this daily newsletter a few months ago. This article is in the top 10 of articles viewed at Acceler8Success Cafe and one that received the most comments. As such, I thought it the perfect article to share on a weekend as we continue our celebration of National Entrepreneurship Month.

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Arts Entrepreneurship

There are many different types of entrepreneurship. From traditional startups to business ownership to today’s popular side hustles. There are also many more in between including entrepreneurship involving personal artistic and creative skills such as being an author or artist whose sole business is to create and then sell their books and paintings.

Some might argue that being an author or an artist is nowhere near being an entrepreneur. I’d argue that they’re mistaken. If the individual with a creative talent uses that talent to earn income, and over time develops a business from his or her efforts, they’ve then become entrepreneurs. In fact, part of the Wikipedia explanation of an entrepreneur’s purpose states:

“An entrepreneur uses their time, energy, and resources into creating value for others. They are rewarded for this effort monetarily and therefore both the consumer of the value created and the entrepreneur are benefitted.”

Artist Entrepreneur

One such Artist Entrepreneur was Leonid Afremov. He was a Mexican–Israeli modern impressionistic artist who used to work mainly with a palette knife and oils. He had developed his own unique technique and style which is unmistakable and cannot be confused with other artists.

His paintings were mainly landscape, city scenes, seascapes, flowers and portraits. Most of his work is considered very colorful and politically neutral.

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Afremov was mainly known as being a self-representing artist who used to promote and sell his work exclusively over the internet with very little exhibitions and involvement of dealers and galleries.

Before the advancement of online sales and eBay, Afremov was a struggling artist. He was born in Vitebsk, Belarus, and lived there until 1990. Between 1990 and 2002 he lived in Israel, and from 2002 to 2010 in Boca Raton, Florida.

According to the Leonid Afremov website, during the cold Russian winter, Afremov stayed at home painting. He was not allowed to participate in government exhibitions because of his Jewish roots and was not allowed to be a member of the local art associations.

His early work was sold privately via family and friends and was not seen by many people. A lot of his work in the 1980’s was just given away for free. He did not keep records of his work then and not much of it survived. The family currently has only one painting that was made before 1990.

In 1986 the Chernobyl disaster happened. Vitebsk was only a few hundred kilometers from Chernobyl, close enough for radiation to travel with the wind and rain. The ecological situation in the area worsened, local crops and water becoming contaminated with radioactive fallout. Small children were affected strongly, including Afremov’s two year old son.

At the same time Leonid Afremov was experiencing serious discrimination and insults for his Jewish heritage. The liberal politics of Mikhail Gorbachev allowed Jewish soviet citizens to migrate to Israel in the late 1980s. After being fed up with anti-semitism and problems caused by radiation, Leonid decided to move to Israel without hesitation as soon as the doors were opened.

On 14 May 1990 the Afremov family left by train from Minsk to Warsaw where they stayed in a hostel for 3 days. Then on 17 May 1990 they took a flight to Israel provided by the Israeli immigration authorities. The Afremov family was among the first to migrate from USSR in the Russian–Jewish immigration wave of the 1990s.

Today, original oil paintings, original recreations, studio recreations, prints, giclees and much more can be purchased directly from the family of the world renowned Leonid Afremov at https://afremov.com/.

Author Entrepreneur

Another creative entrepreneur is author, Joanne (Jo) Rowling, better known as J.K. Rowling of Harry Potter fame. However, one might wonder how Rowling, the author, could possibly be considered an entrepreneur. Yet, considering the tremendous value of the Harry Potter franchise of books and movies, it’d be difficult to dispute.

We often learn about an entrepreneur’s humble beginnings such as Steve Jobs dropping out of college, living on friends’ couches, and sneaking into classes that he enjoyed despite not being enrolled.

Or, the early beginnings of Hewlett-Packard as Bill Hewlett and David Packard started the business out of a garage in Palo Alto, California. And the list goes on from Walt Disney to Daymond John, founder of the Hip Hop apparel company, FUBU.

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In the case of J.K. Rowling, how is this for a humble beginning as described in an article at InsideBusiness.com?

After her mother’s death, Rowling moved to northern Portugal for a fresh start and taught English as a foreign language. She started dating a man named Jorge Arantes, became pregnant, and moved into a small two-bedroom apartment with Arantes’ mother.

The couple miscarried, but they married in October 1992. Rowling later gave birth to a daughter, Jessica, in July 1993.

The rocky marriage lasted a mere 13 months, and Rowling and Jessica returned to the UK to live in Edinburgh, Scotland, not long after. She carried three chapters of “Harry Potter” in her suitcase with her.

Living in a cramped apartment with her daughter, jobless and penniless, Rowling fell into a deep depression and admits she even considered suicide. She was forced to rely on state benefits and spent much of her time writing “Harry Potter” in cafés with Jessica sleeping in the pram next to her.

“An exceptionally short-lived marriage had imploded, and I was jobless, a lone parent, and as poor as it is possible to be in modern Britain, without being homeless… By every usual standard, I was the biggest failure I knew,” Rowling said during a 2008 Harvard University commencement speech.

Today, Harry Potter is a global brand worth more than $15 billion dollars.

Arts Entrepreneurship

According to AmericansForTheArts.org, Arts Entrepreneurship is nothing new. It is fair to assume that artists have always been entrepreneurial. Educators in higher education have been earnestly addressing this topic as early as the 1970s, first at the Eastman School of Music.

However, what is new is a formalized system of education that teaches artists how to, specifically, act entrepreneurially. Today, there are over one hundred colleges and universities addressing the topic, and at least 33 Master’s programs around the world focused on arts, creative, or cultural entrepreneurship.

In academic literature, there is absolutely no consensus as to what “entrepreneurship” means, much less “arts entrepreneurship.” Similarly, there are no agreed-upon definitions for “creativity,” “imagination,” or “art.” These phenomena are complex and subjective.

Regardless, at Meadows School of the Arts at Southern Methodist University (SMU), in a course, Arts Entrepreneurship, students are taught that entrepreneurship is defined as follows: 

“The creation of opportunity and value with intent to profit financially, socially or otherwise through the assumption of risk and effort.”

In the context of arts entrepreneurship, the value created is art.

Have a great day. Make it happen. Make it count!

My Favorite Books About Entrepreneurship

In my continued celebration of National Entrepreneurship Month, today I’m sharing my favorite books about entrepreneurship. I’m of the belief that both current and aspiring entrepreneurs alike will find these five books to be very useful resources. Of course, there are other great books on the subject, but let’s start here.

The Lonely Entrepreneur: The Difference between Success and Failure is Your Perspective by Michael Dermer

“ENTREPRENEUR” IS NOT A JOB, IT IS AN IDENTITY.

Do you feel that you have a great business but are struggling to thrive? …that the world is on your shoulders? …that you are energized and overwhelmed at the same time? …that no one understands or cares as much as you do?

In The Lonely Entrepreneur, author and entrepreneur Michael Dermer shows you how to thrive in the entrepreneurial struggle by changing your perspective. What took a decade to build was destroyed in ten days! Michael faced “the perfect storm” of struggles when the business he spent ten years building was almost wiped out in ten days by the financial crisis of 2008. Bankrupt customers. Enraged investors. Angry creditors. It would take years of working 24 hours a day to save his company. How did he do it? THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SUCCESS AND FAILURE IS YOUR PERSPECTIVE

Michael changed his perspective. He realized that with the right perspective, solutions were everywhere. With the wrong perspective, the simplest of tasks seemed impossible. Not only did Michael successfully sell his company and become an industry pioneer, he discovered a methodology that helps all entrepreneurs with the issue we face—the struggle.

In The Lonely Entrepreneur you will learn how to:

  • Identify the flawed perspectives you develop under the influence of the four Ps—pressure, passion, pleasure, and pain.
  • Change your perspectives from those that stifle progress to those that empower you to thrive.

Be a Disruptor: Streetwise Lessons for Entrepreneurs―from the Mob to Mandates by Stratis Morfogen

Lessons in innovation and entrepreneurship from building a New York City restaurant empire.

Stratis Morfogen has been one of the most innovative names in New York City’s hospitality scene for decades. From bringing the famed Fulton Fish Market online in 1997 to pioneering the automat movement with Brooklyn Dumpling Shop to opening a 25,000 square foot venue in Times Square during the pandemic, Morfogen continues to disrupt the status quo.

 In Be a Disruptor, Morfogen provides an unconventional, real-world education for any entrepreneur by sharing how he beat the odds in the cutthroat, mob-influenced New York City restaurant world. Morfogen teaches readers what he has learned about finding business opportunity in any situation, starting new ventures in times of adversity, and succeeding against all odds in one of the most challenging environments in the world. It’s a playbook for entrepreneurs with the page-turning qualities of a memoir.

With lessons for navigating pressures from powerful entities like the New York mob and local government, restarting mentally and financially after failed ventures, being aggressive when competitors are being conservative, and managing business and personal relationships, Be a Disruptor is a can’t miss, street-smart education for any entrepreneur, restauranteur, or anyone interested in how the NYC hospitality world really works.

Main Street Entrepreneur: Build Your Dream Company Doing What You Love Where You Live by Michael Glauser

100 Cities. 100 Entrepreneurs. 9 Keys for Success.

Main Street Entrepreneur offers a unique look at what it takes to create a successful and thriving business. Lifelong entrepreneur, business consultant and university professor Michael Glauser rode 4,005 miles in 45 days, spent 246 hours on a bike seat, climbed 165,748 vertical feet, and interviewed more than 100 entrepreneurs in 100 cities along the way to discover the secrets to entrepreneurial success.

Glauser has distilled hours of interviews and research to present the nine keys for:

  • Building a purpose-driven business
  • Meeting important community needs
  • Developing a supporting cast
  • Working with a zealous tenacity
  • Giving mind-boggling customer service
  • Diversifying revenue streams
  • Giving back to the broader community
  • And ultimately, creating the lifestyle of your dreams

Readers will learn how to achieve their own dreams and won’t need a 30-page business plan, venture capital, or an exit strategy. All they need to do is implement nine keys for success. Not everyone can build a Facebook, Google or eBay, but anyone with passion and tenacity can do what these entrepreneurs all across America are doing.

The Entrepreneur Roller Coaster: Why Now Is the Time to #JoinTheRide by Darren Hardy

66 PERCENT OF SMALL BUSINESSES FAIL–AND IT’S NOT FOR THE REASONS YOU THINK. WHY DO THEY FAIL?

That is what SUCCESS Publisher Darren Hardy set out on a mission to discover.

What he found was startling. All the previously reported reasons and assumptions for the failure rate (capital, location, credit, inventory management, and competition) were wrong.

Failure was not due to outside factors–they were internal. They weren’t economic–they were emotional. The unexpected and terrifying emotional roller coaster an entrepreneur experiences is the greatest factor in why most quit and ultimately fail.

BUT IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE THAT WAY.

The Entrepreneur Roller Coaster: Why Now Is The Time To #JoinTheRide, will prepare you for the wild ride of entrepreneurship. It will warn you (of forthcoming fears, doubts, and the self-defeating conditioning of your upbringing and past), inoculate you (from the naysayers, dream-stealers, and pains of rejection and failure), and guide you (as you build those under-developed skills of independence, self-motivation, and self-accountability) safely past the landmines that blow up and cause the failure of 66 percent of all new businesses.

You will learn the best strategies Darren has ever collected from the most successful people on the planet, covering the four essential skills necessary for entrepreneurial success: Sales, Recruiting, Leadership, and Productivity.

This book is for you if:

You’ve dreamed of having your own business but have a fear of the unknown.

You’ve stayed on the sidelines of entrepreneurship, not knowing what to expect or what to do.

You’re already on board as an entrepreneur, but you want to ensure you re a success and not a statistic.

BUY THIS BOOK… AND ENJOY THE MOST THRILLING RIDE OF YOUR LIFE!

And, one of my favorites… The Self-Reliant Entrepreneur: 366 Daily Meditations to Feed Your Soul and Grow Your Business which previously appeared at Acceler8Success Cafe (September 2022)

The Self-Reliant Entrepreneur: 366 Daily Meditations to Feed Your Soul and Grow Your Business 

As many that know me are aware, I am an avid reader. Mostly, I read about franchising, small business, entrepreneurship, business & restaurant ownership, self-help and just about any related topics. I’m a sponge for information and resources that I can use in my life as well as in my business, and also for my team and clients.

I typically arise by 4 AM on the weekends and spend 4-6 hours reading through the 300+ digital publications, newsletters and blogs to which I subscribe and that I’ve bookmarked throughout the week. Some I file away for future reference. Others I save to share across social media. And a few I share with friends, colleagues and clients as may be appropriate and relevant based upon a recent conversation or as information, motivation or inspiration I believe will help them.

Over the course of a year, I will read between 35-50 books relating to the same topics I’ve listed above. Some I read and they’re one and done. Others I refer to as needed for reference or as a resource for a particular project. I also have a few go-to books that I refer to quite often for my own inspiration and motivation.

I do love biographies and autobiographies about entrepreneurs, successful business people and leaders. I marvel at these recounts of both success and failure. I’m intrigued by the journey of these individuals. I’m motivated by their passion. I’m amazed by the obstacles and challenges they’ve faced and overcome. And I’m inspired by the possibilities that come to mind as I relate their stories to present day times.

Why do I have such hunger for the written word? Well, my formal education is limited. I never graduated from college as quite frankly, I found it boring. I was not interested in the typical basic courses and although I always looked ahead to the courses I knew I would really enjoy, I fretted about the prerequisite courses that were required before being able to take the courses of which I had the most interest.

To compensate for not having a formal education, I knew I had to work my ass off to get ahead. Marrying and raising a family at an early age was a choice, and a great motivator. It was an experience of which I take great pride, especially as my wife and I have been married for 45 years. We have four great children, their wonderful spouses, and four – and soon to be five – extraordinary grandchildren.

Sure, I regret not completing college and although I have given significant thought on numerous occasions about going back to school, life always got in the way. So, early on when I read Lee Iacocca’s autobiography, Iacocca, I was inspired to learn more about this great man and leader. I read his second book and sought out to read all I could about other successful people.

My motivation to read all that I could was driven by an explanation by Iacocca that still resonates with me to this day. To paraphrase… A man is not as smart by what is in his head as he is by the information he could put his hands on, and that information is in books. And so began my quest for information to educate myself as much as humanly possible.

Oh, I do wish I had complemented it all with a formal education but there’s no use crying over spilt milk, right? There’s no reason to look back. Although, the “what if” questions do haunt me at times, yet they inspire and motivate me just the same.

No doubt I was self-reliant, so when I first heard about the book, The Self-Reliant Entrepreneur, I knew I had to read it. When my daughter, Jennifer asked me what I wanted for Christmas two years ago, I asked her for this book. Maybe the method to my madness was to start out making this book special as it was a gift and one that I knew I would treasure.

Well, as you can see in the image at the top of this article, the book sits at the top of a handful of books that sit on my desk at all times. These books are rotated quite often from the one I’m currently reading to others that I may be referring to for a special project I may be working on. Yet, The Self-Reliant Entrepreneur always sits atop the pileWhy? Because the book is meant to be read each and every day.

But what really makes the book very special is the author’s commitment to helping others. You can just tell he put a great deal of thought into the book. But to me, it’s even more than that as evident by an experience I had yesterday on LinkedIn when I posted the following:

This is my second year reading through the book, The Self-Reliant Entrepreneur by John Jantsch (author of Duct Tape Marketing). The book is comprised of 366 Daily Meditations to Feed Your Soul and Grow Your Business.

Today’s meditation is very spot-on in light of current challenges and economic uncertainty and especially the following sentence:

“As entrepreneurs pushing through fear and trying so many new things, we feel so intoxicated by the sensation of new that we are tempted to hold on and loiter – breathe it in, remember it, then turn the page and grind on.”

I highly recommend entrepreneurs everywhere purchase this book AND diligently follow the daily meditations. The book is great for aspiring entrepreneurs, as well.

Well, the author, John Jantsch personally responded, asking me to share my experience. I mean, who does that? Who takes the time to genuinely ask for your input? Well, it spoke volumes to me, as does this fantastic book.

John asked me, How are you finding you have changed this go around? I responded:

The first time I felt I was just reading. Sure, I always took away something from the various passages but I never seemed to give them much thought afterwards. This time around, I’ve found myself applying what I’ve read, or even like today, I found that it actually reinforced the message I shared in my daily LinkedIn newsletter, Acceler8Success Cafe.

More so, as I often write about what’s going on in my own mind, many of the passages either reinforce my own confidence or motivate me in my own writing as well as in my business. To summarize, first time around I’ve read to read. The second time, I’ve read to apply.

One more thing… For anyone that wants to learn about entrepreneurship or expand skills as an entrepreneur, this book is perfect because so many feel they don’t have time to read a book, but with The Self-Reliant Entrepreneur that’s all they have to read is one page each day. It’s the best 5-10 minutes I spend each and every day!

Interestingly, this morning’s meditation is titled, Original Giftedness. Well, I was already given a gift of John’s response yesterday, so today’s meditation is an appreciated extension of the same. Thank you, John.

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If you’re interested in purchasing, The Self-Reliant Entrepreneur, you may do so on Amazon. I highly recommend you do so today. Also, I also believe it’s a great Christmas or Graduation gift that’ll make a difference in someone’s life. I know it’s made a difference in mine.

Have a great day. Make it happen. Make it count!

Celebrating Entrepreneurship: Looking Toward the Future While Learning From the Past

As we start to wind down in our celebration of National Entrepreneurship Month, I will share previously published articles at Acceler8Success Cafe. Mostly, the articles are about various types of entrepreneurship and the future of this fantastic business model. From groups that are defined by demographics to opportunities that may prove viable for others, celebrating entrepreneurship should be forward-looking and not just historical.

Is Entrepreneurship a viable option later in life?

When asked whether age is a determining factor in achieving success, many will answer with a resounding, yes, especially when the age in question is past 40, and even more if past 50 or 60. The same is true when the question is about starting a business – or anything new, for that matter.

In research conducted by MIT professor Pierre Azoulay the average age of individuals who founded companies between 2007 and 2014 was around 40 years old. His research was based upon analyzing over 2.7 million company founders. That’s a huge number to ensure accuracy in his findings.

Further, Azoulay discovered that a founder at age 50 is approximately twice as likely to experience a “successful exit” compared to a founder at age 30. A successful exit meaning their company gets acquired or goes public.

So despite the success of Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and many others who founded companies in their teens and twenties, those are the exceptions, rather than the norm.

Let’s take a look at the opposite end of the spectrum and highlight those that achieved success later on in life:

Vera Wang

Before creating runway clothing and wedding dresses, Vera Wang was a figure skater and a journalist. She did not enter the fashion industry until she was 40 years old. As one of the most famous designers today, it’s hard to imagine Vera Wang doing anything but building her fashion empire. It just goes to show that it’s never too late to change careers, or to chase a passion.

Ray Kroc

After spending his career as a milkshake-device salesman, Ray Kroc, already in his 50’s, founded the McDonald’s System, Inc. in 1955, a predecessor of the McDonald’s Corporation. Six years later, he bought the exclusive rights to the McDonald’s name and operating system. He is credited with turning McDonald’s into the most successful fast food corporation in the world.

Julia Childs

An American cooking teacher, author, and television personality, Julia Childs is recognized for bringing French cuisine to the American public with her debut cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and her subsequent television programs. After working many years in media and advertising, Childs learned how to cook as a hobby. She publish her first cookbook when she was 50 years old.

Harland Sanders

After holding a number of jobs in his early life, such as steam engine stoker, insurance salesman, and filling station operator, Harland Sanders began selling fried chicken from his roadside restaurant in Kentucky during the Great Depression. Despite closing his business, Sanders, better known as Colonel Sanders, franchised Kentucky Fried Chicken in 1952 at the age of 62. He sold the franchise business for $2 million 12 years later.

If interested in learning who else achieved success later in life, check out the article, 28 people who became highly successful after age 40. I’m sure you’ll find it quite interesting!

According to AARP, the three top sectors older entrepreneurs go into are business services, food/restaurant and health/beauty/fitness, followed by general retail and automotive. No matter where they choose to start their businesses, entrepreneurs 50 and older have a lifetime of experience they can leverage to get started.

FranchiseOpportunities.com reports, If you’re retired or will be retiring soon, there are many ways in which you can become a franchisee. You can open a location, you can work part-time, you can invest or start a brand with others, etc. You can be hands-on working full-time, or you can stay in the back and watch your bank account grow. There are many options as to how you can become a franchisee, and that’s half the fun of it. There’s not a one-size-fits-all, but ways in which you can adapt to what meets your preferences and needs. 

Whether a franchise or an independent business, whether an acquisition or startup, entrepreneurship is a viable option for many individuals who believe they still have what it takes to succeed. Entrepreneurship is an excellent path to achieving that success. Albeit, success is not guaranteed. So, despite years of wisdom and experience, it’s still important and essential due diligence be performed to the highest level possible.

Learn more about business ownership, franchising and entrepreneurship at OwnABizness.com and Entrepreneurship411.com.

Have a great day. Make it happen. Make it count!

Recognizing Hispanic & Latino Entrepreneurship During National Entrepreneurship Month

Recently, I shared an experience about Acceler8Success Group President, Erik Premont’s participation in an all “Spanish” panel at Franchise Expo South in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

This was the first time a discussion panel at an MFV Expositions event that was presented completely in Spanish. The discussion was centered around the theme “Franchise = Opportunity for Hispanic Entrepreneurs in the United States.”

The main objective was to increase awareness of the opportunities and benefits that franchises represent for entrepreneurs, and give greater prominence to diversity in general, including traditionally underrepresented groups. Hopefully, this was the first of many panels that will be delivered in such a beautiful language, with a message delivered without necessity of translation or interpretation by attendees.

To clarify an often misunderstood point, Erik reminded me that Hispanic and Latino are often used interchangeably though they actually mean two different things. Hispanic refers to people who speak Spanish or are descended from Spanish-speaking populations, while Latino refers to people who are from or descended from people from Latin America. Nevertheless, it’s typical to see either of the terms used to describe business ownership by these groups.

Erik is also quite knowledgeable about the various cultures associated with these languages. He often tells me, it’s not only what is being said, but how it’s being said, and in the context of the person’s country of origin.

Read the article, Hispanic Entrepreneurship Front & Center at Franchise Expo South here.

As we continue to celebrate National Entrepreneurship Month, I’d be remiss if I didn’t recognize Hispanic and Latino entrepreneurs and the efforts to expand entrepreneurship to their respective communities. To that end, I’ll refer once again to The Hispanic Entrepreneur Initiative.

Over the past few months, I have written about our participation in this initiative via our Strategic Partnership with Michael Dermer and The Lonely Entrepreneur.

The basis of this initiative is for organizations to sponsor a certain number of Hispanic entrepreneurs who will receive free access to The Lonely Entrepreneur Learning Community – a one stop shop for the knowledge, tools and support a current or aspiring Hispanic entrepreneur needs to start or grow a business.

Learn more about The Hispanic Entrepreneur Initiative here.

Spearheaded by Erik Premont, our ongoing goal is to assist Hispanics and Latinos in achieving the American Dream of business ownership whether via franchising or business acquisition. In addition, we are also focused on assisting current Hispanic entrepreneurs bring their concepts to the United States.

Our efforts continue later this week as Erik will be speaking at VI Congreso Latinamericano de Franquicia in Puebla, Mexico. The theme is,  “Where are we going with franchises in Latin America?” Look for a recap about the event next week here at Acceler8Success Cafe.

Facts About Hispanic and Latino Entrepreneurship

According to the Joint Economic Committee Hispanic Entrepreneurship and Business Brief:

  • Nearly one in four new businesses is Hispanic-owned.
  • The nearly 5 million Hispanic-owned businesses in the United States contribute more than $800 billion to the American economy annually.
  • There are more than 300,000 Hispanic-owned, employer businesses located across all 50 states and the District of Columbia. These enterprises employ at least one employee other than the owner.
  • Hispanic employer businesses employ about 1 million workers, with more than $100 billion in annual payroll. The number of Hispanic-owned businesses that employ at least one employee other than the owner increased by 14% between 2012 and 2017 — more than twice as fast as the national average.
  • In the decade preceding the pandemic, the number of Hispanic business owners increased 34% compared to an increase of just 1% among non-Hispanic business owners.

The Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative (SLEI) at Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB), in collaboration with the Latino Business Action Network (LBAN), released a report covering the latest trends in Latino entrepreneurship in the U.S.

The report highlights key areas of Latino entrepreneurship, including firmographics, financial data and employee statistics from Latino businesses and the overall ongoing effect of COVID-19 on the Latino entrepreneur community.

Key themes and findings include:

  • Firm & Employee Growth: The number of Latino-owned employer firms has grown 35% in the last 10 years compared to 4.5% growth among White-owned firms. In addition, Latino-owned businesses are increasing their number of employees at a dramatically faster rate than White-owned employer businesses (55% vs. 8% since 2007).
  • Tech Focus: Latino-owned businesses are as likely as White-owned businesses to be in the technology industry.
  • Career Advancement: Latino business owners are more likely to provide opportunities for the growth and advancement of their employees than White business owners.
  • COVID Bright Spots: Latino-owned businesses are more likely to make proactive, strategic business changes to mitigate the negative challenges of the pandemic.

Our Commitment

We want to do our part to both encourage and assist all the hardworking Hispanic and Latino business owners as well as the many individuals who want to own their own business. You’re all essential to our society and economic growth. So, keep thriving because we believe in everything you offer and we want to help you reach your business goals.

For more information about our resources, plans and programs, as well as the Hispanic Entrepreneur Initiative, please reach out to me or Erik Premont on LinkedIn. Or, if you prefer, please send either of us an email to Paul@Acceler8Success.com or Erik@Acceler8Success.com. We look forward to helping to make a difference for Hispanic & Latino Entrepreneurs everywhere.

Hablamos español. On parle français. A gente fala português.

As our focus is always on connecting the right people, brands and opportunities, we can help you… and we want to help you.

Have a great day. make it happen. make it count!

Celebrating and Learning from Entrepreneurs

Today is National Entrepreneurs Day. It is a day to celebrate the people who represent one of the best things in America: entrepreneurship.

America was built on entrepreneurs, who started from nothing and managed to build something amazing, by creating a product or a company that gives other people jobs and creates wealth. People with an entrepreneurial mind are usually ambitious dreamers, who see a need for something and create solutions to problems. All of the products that have become essential in our daily lives were once just a prototype in some budding entrepreneur’s mind.

This day celebrates those go-getters, and inspires people to be entrepreneurs themselves, and start their own businesses – especially those that are part of the next generation!

To honor entrepreneurs and all that they have achieved, I believe we should share their stories from which others may be inspired and educated. In light of challenges and economic uncertainty being faced by business owners today, it’s essential to shorten the learning curve however may be possible.

So, today I’m taking a different course of celebration by requesting entrepreneurs share their stories to afford others the opportunity to learn. I believe it will help eliminate doubt, minimize procrastination, and motivate others to move forward, either as current or aspiring entrepreneurs. After all, if entrepreneurship is the key to economic recovery, we must all do our part to promote and celebrate entrepreneurship.

Through Acceler8Success Group, we’re requesting entrepreneurs complete a questionnaire about their success as entrepreneurs. By way of four questions, we’re asking them to share their advice for todays and tomorrow’s entrepreneurs, especially in light of current business climate.

Below are the questions we’re asking:

  • How and when did you know that you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
  • Knowing what you know now, what would you have done differently upon entering the world of entrepreneurship?
  • How would you describe your greatest success as an entrepreneur and what challenges did you overcome to achieve that particular success experience?
  • What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs, especially in today’s business climate?

To make it convenient for entrepreneurs to participate, we’ve created an easy to complete form that may be accessed HERE. As well, we will request entrepreneurs beyond this newsletter by email and across social media.

Our goal is to share responses at a future date and look forward to adding the same to our growing list of resources for todays and tomorrow’s entrepreneurs. Obviously, the more responses we receive, the better. To that end, please help share the word about these efforts. It will certainly be most appreciated.

To all, have a great National Entrepreneurs Day. Make it happen. Make it count!

Does acceptance help drive an entrepreneur forward?

As we continue to celebrate National Entrepreneurship Month I’ve decided to pull an article out of the Acceler8Success Cafe archives. The article, Is acceptance necessary for an entrepreneur? had generated a great deal of debate with responses falling almost equally on both sides of the question.

From my perspective, I don’t believe there is a right or wrong answer as it really pertains to the individual entrepreneur – What is important to that person? What will help build that individual’s self-confidence and self-esteem, while gaining the mental strength necessary to eliminate doubt? What will drive the entrepreneur to persevere?

So, Is acceptance necessary for an entrepreneur, for today’s entrepreneur, or not? I look forward to your thoughts and perspective!

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I always think about the thoughts that others may have had in their minds as they’ve paired a particular image and quote and shared it on social media. I know that I most likely take a longer look than most as I attempt to formulate in my own mind the reasons that I would personally share an image with a quote. Or would it be a quote to an image?

In any event, it’s the thought process that I love. Especially how it may relate to my current mindset. Even more so after a recent coaching session with a client, or as I may be thinking about challenges of the times and how our clients may be affected.

Coming across one this morning, it took me down a proverbial rabbit hole — one that really had me associating it with work we’re currently doing with both current and aspiring entrepreneurs. Although, it was not my intent to focus on work this morning. It just seemed to happen. I’ll just chalk it up to my passion for entrepreneurial success at all levels.

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So many thoughts come to mind as I view this graphic. Especially as I reflect upon the person who I see as an entrepreneur standing at the edge of a cliff. I see the solace, maybe even loneliness of an entrepreneur with his or her dreams seemingly within reach… yet, just out of reach.

Is the entrepreneur standing on earth in the shadows of his or her dreams, or is the entrepreneur in some distant place looking back at earth, and at reality?

An entrepreneur’s dreams, some brighter than others, are almost like spotlights that enable the entrepreneur to visualize things from different perspectives, spurring ideas and creativity in an entrepreneur’s mind. Or possibly, the various areas, both bright and dark may also represent wishes as well as hopes — rounding out the wishes, hopes & dreams trifecta.

Honestly, I didn’t see the quote until well after I had interpreted the image alongside the quote. When I did, it immediately took me to what I believe was a different path than what the person who had originally shared the graphic had intended. I’m certain of that, but my mind was already focused on entrepreneurship and the challenges being faced by entrepreneurs today.

So, I interpreted the quote along the same lines as I had the image. As such, I saw it as a reference to the acceptance of the entrepreneur’s ideas by others including investors, stakeholders, and even fellow entrepreneurs.

But as I continued to give it thought, I also interpreted it as a message addressing the introverted attitude of many entrepreneurs whose laser-focused approach to their work is seemingly without care of what others say or think about them. It raised the question in my mind about whether acceptance is necessary for an entrepreneur.

Although, especially with all we know about entrepreneurs and their unique personalities and character traits, acceptance may not appear to be considered as necessary. However, it may be a consideration, or better said, a goal when and as relationships develop, mostly as a result of visionary similarities, that common bonds start to form.

Often, such relationships can become quite strong as the passion of two typically equals the same of four or five individually. After all, passion is contagious!

I believe it’s this form of acceptance that actually helps the entrepreneur’s vision to become clearer. It’s almost as if the entrepreneur’s dreams have been validated. Of course, confidence builds.

I further believe it’s this subliminal fact-checking process that leads to self-acceptance. THAT is what keeps the entrepreneur driving forward, not only in the face of challenges, but despite them.

Have a great day. Make it happen. Make it count!

And on the Seventh Day, Entrepreneurs Rest!

And on the seventh day, entrepreneurs rest. Is that a true statement?

Certainly, entrepreneurs need rest and relaxation just the same as others, and Sundays are the perfect day to do so. However, entrepreneurs always remain focused on the big picture.

Their eyes and ears are always open for possibilities and opportunities. They’re committed to keeping their minds sharp to be able to evaluate and act upon the same. They strive to stay fit to be prepared for grueling schedules and long days.

Nevertheless, taking care of mental and physical health certainly does not mean being complacent and lazy. Success is about balance… and focus on achieving goals!

Successful entrepreneurs have a passion for what they do, so working hard is part of their DNA. But anyone who is successful also recognizes that life and work are a marathon, not a sprint. They need some downtime on the weekend to ensure they’re up to the task of being creative problem solvers and innovators Monday through Friday.

Sure, they may spend some time catching up on administrative work. They may focus time on a big project that needs special attention. And they should dedicate time to thinking about the future and considering the big picture.

But what successful entrepreneurs don’t do is spend the entire weekend buried under work. Everyone needs a break, and entrepreneurs are no less immune to burnout than anyone else. Their weekends are spent restoring their bodies and minds and getting prepared to function optimally come Monday.

Read about nine things successful entrepreneurs do over the weekend to unwind and re-energize for the week ahead HERE.

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As we prepare to begin another week celebrating National Entrepreneurship Month, I’ve posted links below for the past week’s articles for anyone that may have missed an article or two:

Monday – Entrepreneurship Takes Center Stage!

Tuesday – Entrepreneurship Simply Defined, or Not!

Wednesday – Is entrepreneurship being harmed by misperceptions?

Thursday – Today’s Entrepreneurs: Visionaries or Doers?

Friday – The Future of Entrepreneurship

Saturday – Freedom + Choice = Balance for Entrepreneurs

Have a great day. Make it happen. Make it count!

Freedom + Choice = Balance for Entrepreneurs

We often hear about entrepreneurs being incessant about working long hours, never taking a day off, missing family functions, and essentially not having lives outside their own minds, and their work. Many have asked if all of that is true? Well, for the most part it’s not true. Yet, there is some truth. Sure, some of it is myth as people just love superheroes and the stories about their seeming superpowers including being able to function on little to no sleep.

Well, let’s dispel right now that entrepreneurs are anything more than human. Let’s dispel the myths that they can function without sleep, without rest, without knowing when to shut down for a day or two. But what we can do is learn from what makes them successful by ensuring sure they have the freedom and flexibility to do what they want to do, when they want to do it. It’s all about being positioned to have choices.

Award-wining author and entrepreneur, Richie Norton says it best, “Entrepreneurs don’t have weekends or birthdays or holidays. Every day is my weekend, my birthday, my holiday. OR every day is my workday. Mostly it’s a choice.”

Strategic Coach is one of the world’s leading organizations focused on entrepreneurial success. Within their resource section of its website is a blog post, Putting the Focus on Freedom. Of all the information about entrepreneurship that I have researched and read over the years, the opening question and statement in this post has become, in my mind the foundation of entrepreneurship to me:

Why did you decide to become an entrepreneur? “For most entrepreneurs, the answer is freedom. They wanted more freedom of time, money, relationship, and purpose when they took the leap to starting their own business.”

Another great organization focused on entrepreneurial success is The Lonely Entrepreneur. What I love about this organization and the writings of its founder, Michael Dermer is the reality of entrepreneurship and the inner workings of an entrepreneur’s mind.

There’s an article on The Lonely Entrepreneur website that always comes to my mind as the holidays are just around the corner, What is an Entrepreneur? Dealing with the Holidays. This statement is embedded in my mind:

“As entrepreneurs, we have enough stress throughout the year trying to win customers, bring on employees, raise money and sign deals with vendors. We may have enjoyed, or even taken advantage of these breaks in our “past lives,” but once you become an entrepreneur, we can’t understand how this ever made sense. Most of us also don’t understand how the world could be so insensitive to our efforts by taking time off when we need to get shit done.” 

I highly value both organizations and certainly, I respect both Michael Dermer and Strategic Coach founder, Dan Sullivan. I know that both strive to help entrepreneurs succeed. Both have approaches that make sense. Both speak and teach from personal experience and long distinguished careers of helping others succeed – thousands upon thousands! Yet, each comes from a different angle, so to speak. But I do appreciate that!

It truly has been a blessing and a privilege to have been exposed to both organizations. I have learned so much, and yet, have so much more to learn so I’m extremely grateful to see both founders’ continued efforts and commitment to entrepreneurial success. For me, it helps me balance perspective in my own work, and balance in my personal life.

Freedom, Choice & Balance Defined

Freedom is defined as the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint.

Choice is defined as an act of selecting or deciding when faced with two or more possibilities.

Balance is defined as a condition in which different elements are equal or in the correct proportions.

For some, the notion of freedom, choice & balance is irrelevant along the lines of, it is what it is. To others, it speaks volumes. But there really isn’t a right or wrong position. Instead, the correct one is what it means to YOU!

From my perspective, this quote from Madeleine L’Engle may sum it up best…

“Because to take away a man’s freedom of choice, even his freedom to make the wrong choice, is to manipulate him as though he were a puppet and not a person.”

Have a great day (and weekend). Make it happen. Make it count!