bookmark_borderKeys to Entrepreneurial Success

  1. Focus, focus, focus, focus, focus. The word “focus” simply cannot be said enough. When launching and growing a venture, tons of opportunities and obstacles arise. Entrepreneurs that succeed are typically the ones that see the forest from the trees. They remain focused on the prize. They consider new opportunities, but also note that pursuing them often takes them away from accomplishing what they set out to do.
  2. Hire smart. Companies succeed based on the people that comprise them. Virtually all people in a small, growing entrepreneurial company make key decisions and take actions that can significantly impact the success of the venture. As such, the people that are hired must be hired with care. They must be intelligent, responsible, and equally importantly, have the enthusiasm to succeed and the ability to work in a fast-paced, rapidly changing entrepreneurial environment.
  3. Communicate. So, you’ve followed the first two lessons. You have set company goals and remain focused on achieving them. You have hired great people. Now, it is important to effectively communicate. The laser-sharp focus and goals must be communicated to the great team. Management must share information, instill company values and vision, discuss each employee’s performance with them, and make employees feel that they are the company and that the company is them.
  4. Win. Entrepreneurship, like basketball or football, is a game. There are winners and losers. There are narrow victories and landslides. There are Davids and Goliaths. Competition should be hard work, but it should also be fun. The company should be instilled with competitive spirit and be committed to winning. Winning may take many forms, such as hitting sales goals or turning a profit by a set date. Regardless of how winning is defined, it should be clearly articulated and everyone in the company should have a competitive, winner spirit instilled within them.

The above four lessons can help entrepreneurial ventures edge out their competition and enjoy the financial and emotional success that such ventures are capable of generating.

bookmark_borderEssential Elements of Operating a Successful Business

Find a need!

Is there a market niche for your particular product or service? Does the world, or even your community, need what you have to offer? Only by sampling and testing will you be able to determine this with any degree of certainty, but we will be covering this as we go along in greater detail. The most important aspect would be to determine a Unique Selling Proposition for your product or service. Too many business owners are just trying to be me-too companies. You cannot be just like the next guy and expect to prosper in this volatile economy.

One of the most important things I learned from my Dad was, there are really only two things to consider, and next to them everything else is minor. Those two things are: (1) What do you really want? And just as, and perhaps even more important, (2) Are you willing to do whatever it takes to achieve it?

What do you really, really want from this endeavor? What is your ultimate goal? Are you willing to do whatever it takes to achieve this goal? Instead of looking for a business based on how much money you can earn up-front, select a business based on your love for that endeavor. The most successful and fulfilled people are individuals who are following a dream or vision of their own. They are not just out trying to make a buck.

What opportunities can you act upon? Woolworth saw a need for small inexpensive items and opened the chain of stores that grossed billions. Wrigley started giving gum away as a bonus, and seized the chance to expand worldwide.

You must create a uniqueness to your product or service. What can you offer that no one else can offer? Is it a better warranty, improved customer service, more technical support, faster shipping, or lower price? Think of something that will set you apart from your competitors and describe in detail exactly what it is.

Be good at what you do.

Are you as good as, or better than, the next guy when it comes to producing/marketing your product or service? This element requires an honest self-assessment. “What are my abilities?” To determine your abilities you must take an honest inventory of yourself. Examine every possibility and be sure to include strengths and weaknesses. Will your strong points be able to let you overcome your deficits?

Have true passion for the business.

If there is one element you absolutely cannot do without, it is passion. Passion is an irresistible attitudinal energy that generates power. Do you have a passion for working with your particular product or service? Notice, I didn’t say “do you like what you want to do?” There are too many competitors out there who are ready, willing and able to “eat your lunch” when it comes to competing with you. They may have found the same niche that you have found. They may like what they do as much as you do. But what separates the winners from the losers is passion.

What are you really passionate about? If your answer is, “I’m passionate about making a lot of money.” That is not the right answer. Making a lot of money is consequence of engaging in a successful activity where you remain motivated long enough to be successful. The key to creating passion is to find and do what it is that you truly love. Passion is the laser-like focusing of our creative life force. We do not create passion. (Don’t confuse passion with being a workaholic. Workaholism devours while passion amplifies.)

bookmark_borderHistory of Enterprise Car Rentals

Jack Taylor was the of Executive leasing, which turned into Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Before starting Enterprise Rent-A-Car with the help and additional money of his friends dad, Jack was a Navy fighter Pilot flying in WWII a Hellcat. Enterprise is known for its great young and aggressive workforce, mostly recruited from College. It is an MBA grinder job where you must prove yourself to be promoted and the History of Enterprise Rent-A-Car, proves they promote from within, as a matter of fact its current CEO and CFO both started out washing cars. Many great people as history will reveal started out washing cars. I can name quite a few on our own team. Jack started out in St Louis and then moved on to other major cities to develop a great Nationwide company now worth over 5 billion in assets and guess what? It is a private company not public. Here is a previous post of a few days ago as part of this post; Enterprise Rent-A-Car

I believe this to be a great company, not only because it is one of our customers, but because they do try hardest. I am a little offended by the article in Nov. 2001 of Forbes, which had a little fault with Enterprise Rent-A-Car. One needs to learn reality of highly motivated companies and not condemn or even hint at possible condemnation of what they do not understand before putting finger to keyboard. Enterprise Rent-A-Car is great and they deserve their success. GE would have done the same thing, so would Microsoft, the US Marines and anyone of our franchisees or anyone on our team including me. (I own the company; ). You do not get to be one to the top 10 Private companies in the World by being a pansy ass. Their current CEO and CFO both started at the bottom of the company and worked up to those positions. And guess what they started out by; washing cars. I tell you there is no better company in the auto business to be associated with. Trying harder may sound good, but winning because you try hardest is the best. Vince Lombarde says;

“Winning is not a sometime thing; it’s an all the time thing. You don’t win once in a while; you don’t do things right once in a while; you do them right all the time. Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing. There is no room for second place. There is only one place in my game, and that’s first place. It is and always has been an American zeal to be first in everything we do, and to win, and to win, and to win. It is a reality of life that men are competitive and the most competitive games draw the most competitive men. That’s why they are there – – to compete. To know the rules and objectives when they get in the game. The objective is to win fairly, squarely, by the rules – – but to win. I believe in God, and I believe in human decency. But I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour – – his greatest fulfillment to all he holds dear – – is that moment when he has to work his heart out in a good cause and he’s exhausted on the field of battle – – victorious.”

The people who make up Enterprise are great from the car washers to the President of the company who at one time or another were the same. I truly believe in the power of the team at Enterprise Rent A Car. One of Jack Taylor’s great quotes to his team was;


Today Enterprise Rent A Car has 300,000 cars, it was taken from $100,000 in start-up dollars to that 5 Billion in assets. 3,000 locations, Now in UK, Canada and many other countries, but did you also know that Enterprise rent-a-car also ownes many other operations non-auto? They had Mexican Restaurant Chain, Coffee Shops, Peanut Butter product line, Fruit Drink Mix line, Macadamia Nuts, Micro-brewery in Hawaii. This is a great company with great people and it has proven that great customer service and fair pricing and pure hustle is a winning combo. Talk about basics, The History of Enterprise Rent-A-Car proves it works, no one can deny it now, there were competitors who tried harder, but who is winning today? Next time you think about Entrepreneurial greats be sure to add Enterprise Rent-A-Cars, Jack Taylor to your list. Think on it.

bookmark_borderAbout Entrepreneurial Vision

Entrepreneurs must have a vision of where they want their company to be in the future. In addition, the entrepreneur must be able to communicate this vision in an exciting manner to employees and investors, so that they share the vision and are motivated to help achieve it.

Unlike a business plan, a vision doesn’t provide a specific roadmap for a business. Rather, a vision paints a picture of what the organization strives to become in the future. A leader with a strong vision motivates the team to achieve this picture, regardless of the action plan that will be employed.

Vision provides motivation to both the leader and employees. It gives employees something that they can believe in and rally around. While it doesn’t tell the employees what to do to achieve it, having vision instilled in them helps positively mold their decision-making when problems must be solved that don’t have clear answers.

A strong vision combined with a strong business plan is critical to the success of a growing venture. The vision motivates everyone to achieve success, while the plan guides them to where they need to go. In addition, the plan is significant in that it documents the vision. By “cementing” the vision on paper, the team gains more confidence that the vision will not be easily changed and that the organization is truly committed to achieving it.

bookmark_borderWork Ethic of Entrepreneurial Start-ups

What level of commitment is necessary to take a new high-tech product from seed to weed? What does it is absolutely required in terms of dedication in order to start in your garage and build a prototype to launch into the market? I believe it takes a massive amount of perseverance and it is not something to take lightly. I believe it takes a 6 month to one year every waking hour time frame with all the personal character, stick-to-it-ness and inner will you can muster.

Many entrepreneurs say that they can make the sacrifice for 6 plus months to get the real freedom they need. Of course in the same breath they say they need a minimum of $4,000 per month just to survive. Others say they will do what ever it takes for as long as it takes if they have to sleep on a cot for ten years eating Top Ramen and Macaroni and Cheese. If this is where you stand, then I say “Good” because if you do not win the games leading up to the championship you are not invited to play. And it will take everything you have, every step of the way.

And to that point; It is not that one should not make family time, as the pre-determined choice to have offspring comes with obligations and responsibility. My thoughts are rather that sometimes the entrepreneurial start-up star might have to work a Saturday and take off two nights during the week to make up for it. I believe that cumulative violations of family obligations are similar to sleep deprivation, which can have a long term and dire effect if not dealt with in moderation. I only wish Tookey Williams parents had cared as much as the entrepreneurial parent does.

bookmark_borderRaising Entrepreneurs

While entrepreneurship was never common in my family, many young entrepreneurs had experiences early on in life that lead them towards an entrepreneurial path. In general, there are two possible ways young people feel compelled towards entrepreneurship: inspiration and avoidance. Both can act as powerful catalysts for taking action.

In the case of inspired action, the young entrepreneur most likely grew up in an environment where individuality, responsibility, and financial literacy were encouraged. Even if the parent made little money to support his or her child, the underlying message often centered around taking initiative and following one’s own path.

On the other hand, in the instances where avoidance is the primary motivator, the child usually wants to avoid becoming like their primary caregiver, who was most likely a negative influence. Friends of mind who have exhibited this type of motivation often have a very strong drive to succeed, yet, in part, base their motivation on what they don’t want to become – and must overcome even greater adversity in life.

In order to facilitate the spirit of entrepreneurship in your family, there are many steps you can take. While these steps are particularly geared towards entrepreneurship, they apply toward creating any harmonious relationship between parent and child:

-Teach your child in creative, ‘outside-the-box’ ways. In a recent article with 19 year-old CEO Cameron Johnson, he told a story about how his parents gave him stocks – literally, shares in a company – in his stockings for Christmas. There are many ways you can teach your child about financial literacy, entrepreneurship, and individuality.

-Make self-awareness and wealth consciousness the highest priorities. This entails a significant amount of soul-searching. And while many adults are adverse to the concept of change, often letting go of fear and facing your demons can be the most inspirational model for your child. I have a friend who, after years of living in a fear-based reality, she learned to let go and allow herself to forgive and love others. She has never enjoyed better relationships with her children.

-If your kid acts up, stand in your truth. Don’t beat around the bush or overreact. Of course, you want to be sensitive to your child’s feelings and come from a place of authentic compassion. But when it comes down to it, tell it like it is – they’ll appreciate it in the end.

-Give your child ample opportunity to discover independence for him or herself. It’s critically important that your child learns the process of creating one’s own experience of reality from a first-hand perspective. Sometimes this requires being more firm or lenient than one would like. Yet remember that you grew through making mistakes, and so will your child.

If you see your child exhibiting entrepreneurial behaviors, make sure you show your support throughout his or her growth process. And if your kid is struggling to find motivation, don’t worry – as long as you follow the guidelines above, you will instill the characteristics of greatness and, in due time, inspire the leader within.

bookmark_borderHeroic Entrepreneur

I recently rented the movie, Seabiscuit, which started my thinking about this whole notion of heroism. What I found heroic in the movie was not that both Seabiscuit and his jockey. Red Pollard, came back from adversity to win the Santa Anita race. What was most heroic is that neither of them let adversity stop them in the pursuit of their passion. They knew they were born to do what they were doing, and despite physical setbacks, found the courage to pursue their passion anyway. In the pursuit of this passion, the paths that their lives took had a profound impact on all they came into contact with, most especially with Seabiscuit’s owner, Charles Howard, and trainer, Tom Smith. Howard and Smith got in touch with their owns gifts as a result of their contact with Pollard and Seabiscuit, and racing history was changed forever.

Where would we be today in the world without these people who discovered their brilliance, changed the world in some way by following their passion, and have become famous because they followed their dreams: Albert Einstein, Henry Ford, Bill Gates, Debbie Fields, Stephen Spielberg, Oprah Winfrey, Julia Roberts, and Mark Victor Hanson, to name a few?

There are others who aren’t yet famous yet are heroic every day because they have discovered their brilliance and their gifts and share those with the world. My virtual assistant, Jean Hanson, who, after years in retail and helping her husband run a cleaning business, now loves to step into the lives and businesses of her clients and is thrilled with her ability to help them achieve their goals. It’s due to Jean’s love of helping me achieve my business dreams that I’m able publish a weekly email newsletter and inspire my readers to take action to live better lives and create better businesses.

My brother started his firefighting career at the tender age of 15, now continues to serve as the youngest-elected chief of the local volunteer fire department, fire marshall for the city in which he lives, and Assistant. Emergency Management Coordinator for his local tri-county region. When the space shuttle Columbia exploded mid-air on February 1, 2003, and debris rained down on East Texas, he organized and managed an incredible volunteer effort to retrieve shuttle debris and remains of the astronauts, 5 of whom were recovered through his team’s search efforts. How would NASA’s ability to thoroughly examine the debris and research the cause of the explosion have changed if my brother hadn’t been there spearheading the rescue, following his passion of firefighting, and leading with his gifts to organize and delegate large numbers of people in times of crisis?

Each of us has a unique gift that we bring to the world, and I truly believe that we all are here to fulfill a purpose that ties in with our gifts. The impact that your gift will have on the lives of others can be incredibly amazing, so you definitely owe it to yourself, at a minimum, to discover that gift.

As a business owner, perhaps you’ve discovered your brilliance and are able to pursue that daily in the operation of your business. If you’re like most business owners, however, you often lose sight of why you started your business and get bogged down in doing those day-to-day things that drive you nuts but are necessary evils for keeping your business afloat, yet prevent you from living your brilliance. If that’s the case, grab a sheet of paper and make two columns: Things I Love and Everything Else. In your Things I Love column, write down only those activities you love to do in your business.

For me, it’s pretty simple: writing, speaking, coaching, and marketing. All the other things that need to happen in my business, from bookkeeping to website maintenance to fulfilling marketing plans to database updates go into the Everything Else column, where I’m delegating (or have a plan to delegate) these tasks to those professionals, like my VA Jean, who are great at these things and love to do them. This, in turn, enables me to free up my time to do what I do best, and share my gifts with the world.

Exercise your courage muscles today, get in touch with your brilliance, and become a hero in your own right in your business and your life. The world is waiting to experience your brilliance….

bookmark_borderEntrepreneurial Mindset

Don’t worry if you don’t possess all of the above traits. Starting and running a business is an act of creation; a work in progress. You can learn as you go. To give you a head start, let’s take a closer look at some of the mental skills you might need to refine to ease your transition into self-employment.

  • Ability to work without supervision: You’re the boss now–nobody scheduling your time, telling you what steps to take next, what to do when things go wrong. You need to be able to prioritize your own work by differentiating between those tasks that must be done first and those projects that can be assigned back-burner status. To help keep yourself on track, make To-Do lists of all the things you need to accomplish: today, this week, this month. Then for each list, take time to analyze the steps necessary to complete each project, writing the steps down in the order they need to be done. Let these lists be your supervisor, your guide to accomplishing your goals.
  • Ability to self-motivate: Sometimes the temptation to slack off is irresistible. The sun is shining and you’d rather go to the beach; or it’s raining and you’ve got a stuffy nose and you’d rather stay in bed with a good book. It’s during these times that you must force yourself to stay on task, especially if you’re working against deadlines. To overcome this mental block, try using the reward system to motivate yourself: “When I get these invoices paid, I can go for a walk in the park” (or eat a bowl of chocolate fudge ice cream, or get a massage). Use whatever reward you need to help you get through the slump. But be sure to give yourself a reward because you don’t want to leave yourself feeling betrayed.

Another motivational tactic is setting a timer that buzzes or chimes when time’s up. Allocate a certain block of minutes to work on a project (notice I didn’t say “complete a project”–who wouldn’t cave in under that pressure?) and devote yourself to that task exclusively until the timer goes off. Then you’re free to start the next task on your list. I usually find that I’m “in the zone” when the timer goes off so I just keep working, but it’s liberating to know I don’t have to.

  • Ability to make quick decisions: We don’t always have the luxury of saying, “I’ll get back to you on that,” like when the delivery van breaks down and you’ve got to get two dozen centerpieces to a wedding reception that afternoon. You have to be capable of assessing a situation and coming up with a workable solution, quickly. The key is to stay calm, run through a mental list of your options, and determine which will be the most viable for that situation. Things happen, and if you allow your brain to overflow with panic, there isn’t room left for solutions-based ideas to formulate.
  • Ability to handle stress: Like in the example above, you need to stay in control of your emotions when things go wrong. Screaming at the delivery person who demands payment on the spot for a prepaid order isn’t going to get the product into your hands without paying for it twice. You need to identify the problem (in this case a misunderstanding with the supplier) and shift your mental processes toward solving the problem. It helps to look at the big picture too: a hundred years from now, will this be the catalyst that ended life on earth as we know it? If the answer is no, you probably don’t need to angst over it for more than a few minutes.
  • Flexibility: This one can be challenging, especially if we’ve got a fixed idea of what we want to do or a process for doing it. Then, when things don’t go as planned, we dig in, determined to make it work even if it kills us. Unless you’re willing to die for your plan, you need to be willing to entertain different ideas. Remind yourself often that entrepreneurship offers unlimited possibilities, and the greater your options, the greater your opportunities.
  • Focus: Determine what you want to do, the processes and resources required to do it, and the steps you’ll need to get it done, then set yourself to the task. Keep in mind that you’ll have to be somewhat flexible, as outlined in #5 above, including allowing for interruptions, but stay on task as much as possible. If a certain project feels overwhelming, try breaking it down into bite-sized chunks and focusing on just one chunk at a time. Your ability to complete projects on time and within budget heavily relies on your ability to focus.
  • Persistence: A lot of clichés about success are based on the ability to stick with a project: “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again”; “Slow and easy wins the race”; “If it doesn’t work, get a bigger hammer” (okay, that last one is my dad’s favorite). The point is, the only way to guarantee failure is to give up. Conversely, the only way to ensure success is to keep trying. Understand however, that you must be willing to try different processes to achieve a goal if one or more other processes don’t work (see #5 above). Also, you may find that you have to reset your goals on occasion to keep your business moving forward.
  • Patience: This character trait is not only a virtue, it’s also vital to maintaining your sanity. If your business is to succeed, you need to be patient with yourself and with the progress you’re making in achieving your goals. Every day is a chance to learn and grow, so give yourself permission to make mistakes. Don’t beat yourself up over them. Just trust the process. Your future is unfolding at exactly the pace it needs to in order to provide you with everything you need.

bookmark_borderCharacteristic Of Successful Entrepreneur

  • Vision is a simple concept yet can be misunderstood. It is often a label we apply to great men and women that are often beyond the reach of our frame work of reality. So, its no wonder many people fail to recognise and perceive what vision is much less develop it for themselves. Vision as it pertains to being a successful entrepreneur is the capacity to see opportunity where others see problems. Its this function of the imagination to logically follow through in the mind logical outcomes manufactured from optimistic notions that leads to vision. Vision is used sparingly by most entrepreneurs because its simply not required alot. Most entrepreneurs have vision that leads to an idea for profit that eventually gets recycled and repeated in every project they take on. Vision is something that new entrepreneurs need to develop, however once that vision is acted upon and a successful project has been carried out the vision is re-used to repeat the success. Time is short and experimentation is risky, one most successful entrepreneurs have some success, they tend to build on it rather then dabble in new areas.
  • Skills can be learned by virtue of the fact that a skill is defined as a series of actions designed to produce a singular result. Skills are the backbone of success. But they are certainly not exclusively responsible for success. Skills should be picked up as you go because as an entrepreneur, your capacity to pick something up and learn quickly how to get it to work is usually a natural innate capacity. Entrepreneurs are naturally a curious and inventive bunch that like to dabble which means they know how to get involved in things in the right way.
  • Tools of the entrepreneur are many and varied. Each entrepreneur fashions or finds his own tools relevant to the markets they operate in and the projects they pursue. Tools generally come as a result of needs. Entrepreneurs usually have the tendency to “monster” projects. By that I mean they prepare up to a point, however its the intention to get through the task with efficiency and speed. This attitude to monster through things eventually leads to finding better tools to handle certain tasks more efficiently and quickly.

bookmark_borderEntrepreneurs of the Underground Railroad

History is one of greatest places to search for answers to understand our world today. The Underground Railroad, one of the most interesting stories of American history is an amazing story of courage and leadership, and it tells one of the most compelling stories of entrepreneurship. The Underground Railroad marks the first time in American history, as a major movement, that Blacks and Whites came together and took risks to complete a mission.

According to, an entrepreneur is “a person who organizes and manages any enterprise, usually with considerable initiative and risk.” Brett Nelson in his article, “The Real Definition of Entrepreneur-And Why It Matters”, defines it thusly: “Entrepreneurs in the purest sense, are those who identify a need-any need-and fill it. It’s a primordial urge, independent of product, service, industry, or market.”

Entrepreneurs are those who set out to transform society. They are serial problem solvers. Some of the most incredible entrepreneurs of our history are those who set out to solve one of America’s biggest problems: slavery. Exporting cotton, along with other commodities, was business. Slaves were free labor. Abolition was a societal shift to disrupt a corrupt market. The organization was the Underground Railroad, a network of slaves, abolitionists, business owners, and politicians.

The Visionary, A Woman Called Moses

“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”

-Harriet Tubman

Entrepreneurial endeavors begin with the heart. It takes a leader with grit to stand out from the crowd, and before becoming a leader with a following, they are visionaries with an idea to bring to the world. They are not blinded by the limits around them; they can see the outcome before it happens. Harriet Tubman was a visionary. Her mission to free slaves was clear, and her leadership was impeccable, making her one of the greatest entrepreneurs to ever live, a pioneer, a force toward the abolition of slavery in America.

Facing fears: Tubman took a stand against slavery in the worst of conditions.

Overcoming failure: She initially failed twice while trying to escape slavery.

Courage: She showed incredible persistence. She even went back to free her family, and freed several other slaves by escaping with them to freedom.

Sacrifice: She traded in her most prized possession, a quilt, for information on the Underground Railroad.

Passion: She burned with desire to achieve her mission, and still she was disappointed, believing she could have freed more, when she died many years later.

Leadership: Harriet Tubman inspired others not only to follow, but brought out the leader in many as well. She did not lead for power; she was a relentless force against slavery from the position of a servant.

Determination: She had an incredible drive coupled with efficiency toward success.

“I’ve never ran my train off the track and I’ve never lost a passenger.”

-Harriet Tubman

The Investors, Men Who Believed in the Dream

“Friend, I haven’t a dollar in the world, but if thee knows a fugitive who needs a breakfast, send him to me.”

-Thomas Garrett

Entrepreneurship takes a team; success is not achieved alone. Often the people behind the scenes give a substantial rise to the growth of an organization. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had Ralph Abernathy. Walt Disney had Roy Disney. Without Roy Disney, the financial expert and partner of his brother Walt, we would never have experienced the motion picture of Snow White, and thus never heard of Walt Disney.

Harriet Tubman had Thomas Garrett.

Finances, gifts, and skills keep a movement progressing forward. Tubman had a vision, the work ethic, and the drive to lead in the Underground Railroad movement. But, she needed fuel; she needed a team.

Thomas Garrett was a Quaker born into prosperity. He was motivated to participate as an abolitionist. A stationmaster in the last stop for slaves trying to gain their freedom on a route to Pennsylvania, he helped thousands by supplying housing, money, shoes, and even physical and legal defense of Blacks escaping from the South. Garrett provided the means for Tubman to free her own parents from slavery. Upon his death, he was acknowledged with the highest regard by those he served. They honored their leader by carrying his body to a final resting place.

William Still was another investor in the Underground Railroad. He gave of his time and money, and housed many Blacks escaping to freedom. He was the “Father” and the “Bookkeeper” of the movement, keeping careful records of facts, authentic narratives, and letters.

While names like Garrett and Still are lightly whispered in history, without them and the sacrifices of thousands of others, the Underground Railroad would have failed as an unrealized dream.

The Evangelists: Carrying the Mission, Creating Permanent Change

“Little boldness is needed to assail the opinions and practices of notoriously wicked men; but to rebuke great and good men for their conduct, and to impeach their discernment, is the highest effort of moral courage.”

-William Lloyd Garrison, Journalist

“I was broken in body, soul, and spirit. My natural elasticity was crushed, my intellect languished, the disposition to read departed, the cheerful spark that lingered about my eye died; the dark night of slavery closed in upon me; and behold a man transformed into a brute!”

-Frederick Douglass, A Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave

“I do order and declare that all persons held as slaves within said designated States, and parts of States, are and henceforward shall be free.”

-Abraham Lincoln, The 16th President of the United States

In life, and on our entrepreneurial journey, there are people that come along side our mission to give us “the big break.” More well-known than Garrett, William Lloyd Garrison was one of the most famous White abolitionists. Garrison was a pivotal participant in the success of the Underground Railroad paving the way, in the public sector and through media for our evangelist of the mission, Frederick Douglass.

Douglass, born a slave, was a bridge between the voice of Blacks seeking freedom and politicians willing to support the radical change of emancipation. Douglass was a firm believer in the equality of all people, whether Black or White, male or female. His voice and actions complimented the vision of Tubman. His mark in history transformed the movement of freeing slaves into making slavery illegal.

Douglass knew that truly breaking free was only possible when slavery was no longer an option. When he first met Abraham Lincoln it was apparent both men shared more than just an idea, they shared an obsession for freedom. Their first meeting was the start of a relationship in which a former slave influenced the President to lead a national change for the freedom and equality of all people.

Unfortunately, slavery of Blacks cannot be erased from our history, but by the efforts of thousands across hundreds of years, it was abolished from our future.

As I read history, I find the majority of people in each era are blinded and guilty of justifying the slavery of their time. The greatest murderer of a person’s soul is the indifference in his or her own heart.

Entrepreneurship is a movement toward freedom from the shackles that limit us. It is more than a song to be sung. It is more than a proclamation to be shared. It is liberating ourselves while freeing others.