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Business Ideas – 3 Business Lessons From LL Bean by Evan Carmichael Today we’re going to look at how a young man who couldn’t hold down a steady job and couldn’t get his mind off of hunting and fishing turned his passion into a business and would later be called one of the Top Ten Entrepreneurs of the 20th Century by the Wall Street Journal. This is the story of L.L. Bean and the top 3 lessons that you can learn from his success. “Sell good merchandise at a reasonable profit, treat your customers like human beings, and they will always come back for more.” – Leon Leonwood Bean Leon Leonwood Bean (November 13, 1872 — February 5, 1967) was an inventor, author, outdoor enthusiast, and founder of the company L.L.Bean. As a young man, Bean couldn’t hold a steady job and drifted from place to place. He would much rather be out hunting and fishing than working for someone else. After a series of outdoor expeditions, Bean returned home with his feet soaking wet because there wasn’t a good shoe that could keep them dry. He set out to solve the problem by visiting a local cobbler and creating a new shoe for outdoorsmen. He called it the Maine Hunting Shoe. Bean got a list of hunting license holders, set up shop in his brother’s basement, and drafted a letter to be sent by mail to his list. Bean wrote: “Outside of your gun, nothing is so important to your outfit as your foot-wear. You cannot expect success hunting deer or moose if your feet are not properly dressed.” The letter was a success and he sold 100 pairs only to have 90 of them returned because they broke apart. Bean refunded his customers the money, took out a loan to modify the design and began selling again. By the time Bean died in 1967, company sales had passed $4 million per year and the Wall Street Journal named him one of the Top Ten Entrepreneurs of the 20th Century. Today, with over $1.7 billion in annual sales, L.L. Bean remains one of the most successful family-run businesses in the U.S. Action Item #1: Care for Your Customers Action Item #2: Be Your Target Market Action Item #3: Network True Story When Bean first threw away the keys to his store and invited hunters and fishermen to come visit the store whenever they wanted, he installed a late night bell to allow people to ring for assistance. Customers who arrived late at night would see the bell and a sign that read: “Push once a minute until clerk appears.” Pushing the bell would bring a watchman and often even Bean himself to come help the customer, no matter what time of day it was. Quotes “Above all, we wish to avoid having a dissatisfied customer.” “We consider our customers a part of our organization, and we […]
Business Ideas – 3 Lessons from Robert Kiyosaki by Evan Carmichael Today we’re going to look at how a Vietnam veteran failed with two separate businesses but was determined to become a successful entrepreneur and not have to work for someone else. He would eventually become one of the most successful business writers of all time. This is the story of Rich Dad Poor Dad creator Robert Kiyosaki and the top 3 lessons that you can learn from his success. “The size of your success is measured by the strength of your desire; the size of your dream; and how you handle disappointment along the way.” – Robert Kiyosaki Robert Kiyosaki (born April 8, 1947) is an American investor, businessman, self-help author, motivational speaker, and financial literacy activist best known for his “Rich Dad Poor Dad” book series. After serving in the Marine Corps as a helicopter gunship pilot during the Vietnam War, Kiyosaki returned home to work as a salesman for Xerox. Not wanting to work for someone else for the rest of his life, Kiyosaki had dreams of starting his own business. After unsuccessful stints selling Velcro wallets and T-shirts for heavy metal rock bands, Kiyosaki began promoting the personal growth seminars of Marshall Thurber called “Money & You.” When Thurber decided to retire, Kiyosaki took over the business and began traveling the world to educate people about financial strategies. To reach more people he decided to write his first book which he self-published, “Rich Dad Poor Dad.” Robert Kiyosaki has written over 15 books and has sold over 26 million copies. 3 of his books have been on the best sellers lists of The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and the New York Times simultaneously and he’s a sought after speaker who continues to educate people on how to understand their money. Action Item #1: Make Your Money Work Hard Action Item #2: Mind Your Own Business Action Item #3: Work to Learn, Not for Money True Story There was once a friend of Kiyosaki’s whose 16 year old son desperately wanted a new car. His friends had all been given one by their parents, and now this son expected nothing less. But, it was not going to be that easy for the boy. His father had played Kiyosaki’s CASHFLOW board game and he wanted to teach his son a lesson in financial management. The father gave his son $3,000 but forbade him from using it to buy a car just yet. At the same time, he gave his son a subscription to the Wall Street Journal. The father told his son that only once he had earned an additional $6,000 from investments could he then use $3,000 to buy a car. The rest of the money would of course go into his college fund. “My friend said it was the best $3,000 he ever spent,” says Kiyosaki. “Not only had his son gained a new […]
Shawn Achor – “The Happiness Advantage: Linking Positive Brains to Performance” Shawn Achor is the winner of over a dozen distinguished teaching awards at Harvard University, where he delivered lectures on positive psychology in the most popular class at Harvard. His research and lectures on happiness and human potential have received attention in The New York Times, Boston Globe, The Wall Street Journal, as well as on NPR and CNN Radio, and he travels around the United States and Europe giving talks on positive psychology to Fortune 500 corporations, schools, and non-profit organizations. Achor graduated magna cum laude from Harvard with a BA in English and Religion and earned a Masters degree from Harvard Divinity School in Christian and Buddhist ethics. Now he is the CEO of Aspirant, a Cambridge-based consulting firm which researches positive outliers-people who are well above average-to understand where human potential, success and happiness intersect. Based on his research and 12 years of experience at Harvard, he clearly and humorously describes to organizations how to increase happiness and meaning, raise success rates and profitability, and create positive transformations that ripple into more successful cultures. In Shawn’s presentation, he says that most modern research focuses on the average, but that “if we focus on the average, we will remain merely average.” He wants to study the positive outliers, and learn how not only to bring people up to the average, but to move the entire average up.
Confessions of a Futurist: Sheryl Connelly Sheryl Connelly is manager of global trends and futuring for Ford Motor Company, tracking shifts and trends in topics as far reaching as the environment, politics and millennials and analyzing those shifts to predict consumer preferences. Her insights inform the company’s automotive design, product development and corporate strategy and help anticipate the needs and desires of car buyers. Sheryl, a licensed attorney with an M.B.A. and a bachelor’s degree in finance, also teaches design research at the Center for Creative Studies in Detroit, MI. She has guest lectured at Massachusetts Institute for Technology, University of Michigan, and Wharton School of Business. She has also been featured in Forbes, the Wall Street Journal, Reuters, Financial Times and on the BBC.
Gavin Pretor-Pinney: Cloudy with a chance of joy You don’t need to plan an exotic trip to find creative inspiration. Just look up, says Gavin Pretor-Pinney, founder of the Cloud Appreciation Society. As he shares charming photos of nature’s finest aerial architecture, Pretor-Pinney calls for us all to take a step off the digital treadmill, lie back and admire the beauty in the sky above. Cloud Appreciation Society founder Gavin Pretor-Pinney shows how seemingly idle pursuits provide unexpected paths to appreciating overlooked wonders. WHY YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO HIM? As co-founder of The Idler magazine, Gavin Pretor-Pinney is a longtime advocate of the joys of time ill-spent. In The Cloudspotter’s Guide and The Cloud Collector’s Handbook, he tackles the idlest pursuit of all: cloudwatching. Pretor-Pinney’s blend of tranquil appreciation and hard science have floated his cloud books to the top of bestseller lists. For Pretor-Pinney, clouds illustrate how mundane phenomena reveal the complex vectors that connect the natural wonders around us. Pretor-Pinney is also the author of The Wavewatcher’s Companion. “The U.K. Cloud Appreciation Society grew out of a talk on clouds Mr. Pretor-Pinney delivered to a literary festival in 2004. To attract attendees, he invented a whimsical title: the Inaugural Lecture of the Cloud Appreciation Society. To his surprise, several people asked to join. The society was born.” Gautam Naik, Wall Street Journal
Inventing Digital Civil Society: Lucy Bernholz Lucy Bernholz is a philanthropy wonk. She is trying to understand how we create, fund, and distribute shared social goods in the digital age — what she calls The Future of Good. She writes extensively on philanthropy, technology, information, and policy on her award-winning blog, philanthropy2173.com. This work led The Huffington Post to hail her as a “game changer.” In 2011 Bernholz sold her company, Blueprint Research + Design, to Arabella Advisors. Bernholz is a visiting scholar at the Stanford University Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society, a Fellow with the Hybrid Reality Institute and former Fellow of the New America Foundation. Among other advisory roles, Bernholz serves on the Board of The Craigslist Foundation, on the NeXii Industry Standards and Advisory Board, and is an advisor to the Center for Digital Information. She is a frequent conference speaker and an oft-quoted media source for NPR, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Economic Times of India. She is the author of numerous articles and books about the business of giving, including the Blueprint Series of Annual Industry Forecasts on Philanthropy and Social Investing, the 2010 publication Disrupting Philanthropy, and her 2004 book Creating Philanthropic Capital Markets: The Deliberate Evolution. She has a B.A. from Yale University, where she played field hockey and captained the lacrosse team, and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Stanford University.
Didier Sornette: How we can predict the next financial crisis The 2007-2008 financial crisis, you might think, was an unpredictable one-time crash. But Didier Sornette and his Financial Crisis Observatory have plotted a set of early warning signs for unstable, growing systems, tracking the moment when any bubble is about to pop. (And he’s seeing it happen again, right now.) Didier Sornette studies whether it is possible to anticipate big changes or predict crises in complex systems. WHY YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO HIM? While financial crashes, recessions, earthquakes and other extreme events appear chaotic, Didier Sornette’s research is focused on finding out whether they are, in fact, predictable. They may happen often as a surprise, he suggests, but they don’t come out of the blue: the most extreme risks (and gains) are what he calls “dragon kings” that almost always result from a visible drift toward a critical instability. In his hypothesis, this instability has measurable technical and/or socio-economical precursors. As he says: “Crises are not external shocks.” An expert on complex systems, Sornette is the chair of entrepreneurial risk at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, and director of the Financial Crisis Observatory, a project to test the hypothesis that markets can be predictable, especially during bubbles. He’s the author of Why Stock Markets Crash: Critical Events in Complex Financial Systems. “Didier Sornette has immersed his life in risk.” Wall Street Journal
The Power of Writing: Rebecca Wallace-Segall Rebecca Wallace-Segall is the founder and Executive Director of Writopia Lab and teaches writing workshops in NYC. She lectures at schools, events, and parents’ organizations on How to Inspire the Writer Within Your Child. She has been awarded recognition from The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards as an “outstanding educator” and has contributed op-eds about education and writing to The Atlantic Monthly and The Wall Street Journal.
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