November has always been my favorite month of the year. You may think I love November because it’s my birthday month. But you would be wrong. It’s July and as the date gets closer, I will remind you.
November is my favorite month because it is the month where people get together and give thanks for a multitude of reasons. This year will be no different. Even though we will still be social distancing, there are so many things we can enjoy and give thanks for during this month.
For instance, we can eat the Halloween candy that was left over from the lack of trick or treaters coming to our houses without guilt. You don’t want food to go to waste so just bring it to your remote office. We can also be thankful that we will not be interrogated by family members at the Thanksgiving dinner table about our future or relationships and not having to eat Aunt Matilda’s Jell-O- salad.
But the real reason I enjoy November is because it is the worldwide celebration of Global Entrepreneurship Week. Developed by the Kauffman Foundation, Global Entrepreneurship Week is a time when we celebrate innovators and job creators who launch startups that bring ideas to life and drive economic growth. For one week each November, GEW inspires people everywhere through local, national and global activities designed to help them explore their potential as self-starters and innovators.
You may think that GEW will have to take a gap year given that millions of people have become unemployed. But you would be wrong. It is true that many entrepreneurs have had to close their business, but it is also true that the numbers of startups have increased substantially over the last several months, especially in Washington State. So, this would be an excellent time for people to explore their options for starting that million-dollar business idea that has been floating around in your heads. And Washington State is going to help you do that.
The Washington State Department of Commerce won’t let a stinkin’ pandemic interfere with the entrepreneurial ingenuity of its residents. That’s why the Department of Commerce is going to be providing information and resources to assist startups and entrepreneurs the entire month of November in its celebration of Washington’s 8th Annual Global Entrepreneurship Month.
When I retired from the Department of Commerce, everyone told me how irreplaceable I was after 26 years working on rural strategies and entrepreneurship. They were wrong.
Under the leadership of Robb Zerr, his team of talented and entrepreneurial wizards have put together a month of almost 50 live interactive events for makers, doers, and dreamers to understand how to start their own business and bring their idea to market. Successful entrepreneurs and experienced educators will share secrets and tips to starting and operating a successful business.
But wait!!! There’s more!! In addition to those events, Commerce has created the Entrepreneur Academy where startup dreamers will be able to learn a wide range of skills on demand like mastering the mysteries of supply chain, understanding the 4 P’s of marketing, and discovering nontraditional access to capital. These are just a few of the sessions to compliment your million-dollar idea. The online academy includes video presentations, an original workbook, resourceful assignments, and a short quiz that will determine if you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur.
We all have at least one million dollar idea lurking inside of us. From the early age of our discovering the world, we think about how certain products and services can be delivered better, cheaper and more efficiently.
I always thought my kids would be entrepreneurs. If I had a dollar for every idea they had, I would be rich. They were always coming up with ideas that digressed from the normal. My oldest son told me that he had a million-dollar idea that he would share with the first million people that would send him a dollar. (Clever but not sustainable and probably illegal)
My younger son had a more practical idea. He wanted to invent invisible windshield wipers. Ten years later Amazon is selling them for $14.99.
So why aren’t my kids’ millionaires? It’s not because they were not smart enough or had the right resources or capital. It’s because they did not learn the steps that were necessary to create a business and execute their idea. (I think my oldest son did attempt his idea but fell short by almost a million dollars)
It reminds me of a story about a man who finds himself in dire trouble. His business has gone bust and he’s in serious financial trouble. He’s so desperate he decides to ask God for help. He begins to pray…
“God, please help me. I’ve lost my business and if I don’t get some money, I’m going to lose my house as well. Please let me win the lotto.”
Lotto night comes and somebody else wins it.
The man again prays…
“God, please let me win the lotto! I’ve lost my business; my house and I’m going to lose my car as well.”
Lotto night comes and he still has no luck.
Once again, he prays…
“My God, why have you forsaken me?? I’ve lost my business, my house, and my car. My wife and children are starving. I don’t often ask you for help and I have always been a good servant to you. PLEASE just let me win the lotto this one time so I can get my life back in order.”
Suddenly there is a blinding flash of light as the heavens open and he is confronted by the voice of God Himself: “Hey, meet me halfway on this. Buy a ticket.”
So, what are you waiting for? There is no need to get in a car, put on pants or even download an app. Just register and get your ticket to see what it takes to own your own business, be your own boss, work with people who are passionate about your idea, and discover what inspires you to get out of bed in the morning. (For me, at my age, it’s my bladder that gets me out of bed)
As the old saying goes, “Million-dollar ideas are a dime a dozen. The determination to see the idea through is priceless.” Take this opportunity during the pandemic to learn the skills to be a successful business owner and avoid beginner’s mistakes. There is no such thing as million-dollar ideas, only million dollar executions.