Vision and Self-Discipline
The economy is not the only reason today's hardworking entrepreneurs are prospering. At the foundation of any business is one or more persons with vision and self-discipline. They answer to few, if any, others. What they do and how they go about setting and accomplishing their goals are primarily up to their discretion. They are the ones who get themselves up and going every day! They decide what their goals are and how they're going to achieve them. They develop their products or services and determine how to cultivate prospective buyers. They then have to figure out how they are going to advertise, or "market," to their "target market."
While they have to share certain commonalities, entrepreneurs vary in persona, temperament, and the manners in which they conduct their businesses. There are as many individual types of entrepreneurs as there are business start-ups! For example, President "Silent Cal" Coolidge's storekeeper father was surely very different than his fellow present-day Vermonters, ice cream moguls Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield.
Successful businesses may end up being run from grand buildings, but know that they rarely start there. Ben
and Jerry's multi-million dollar empire began in a humble former gas station in Burlington, Vermont. It now operates in part in a smaller rural company building with a cow-painted bus gracing the landscape. Those familiar cows are the face of their marketing. We all know them from the grocery store ice cream aisle. As they tell us, "Peace, Love and Ice Cream."
In contrast, businessman and shop owner John Calvin Coolidge, Sr. had a very different persona. He sold various goods in his small Plymouth Notch general store. However, he was the proverbial "man of all trades." He was a farmer, veteran of the Vermont militia during the Civil War, postmaster, deputy constable, state representative and state senator, insurance broker and banker, just to name a few! But perhaps his moment of deepest pride was administering the presidential oath of office, as Vermont notary public and justice of the peace, to his son the current Vice-President following the death of President Warren G. Harding the day prior. I'd call that a good life's work!
Discussion Topic: Discuss with your family or fellow students about off-beat personalities in your area who started a business doing something fun or out of the ordinary - like making ice cream with wacky names. Compare and contrast those people with more traditional entrepreneurs in your community. How are both succeeding in their own areas of expertise? What personality traits do you think have helped them with their accomplishments, and why?
Terms to know: market, target market