If you want to see how businesses are built, don’t go to the government for help, go to Sharkfest! I did last week as a guest judge for the annual business competition held at Johnson and Wales University, the place where big-time chefs and alumni like Emeril Lagasse learned the basics before the BAM!
Reading through the business proposals reminded me of all the work that it takes to create your own BAM! And it starts with the guts to get up on stage in front of a packed house, especially your peers, and rattle off your plan like the contestants and winners did.
Events like Sharkfest teach one of the most important steps to success in business—believing in yourself. And you don’t have to start a business to be a successful entrepreneur. I remember hearing Tom Stemberg, founder of Staples, tell that to a group of us when I was at Babson. What’s important is the spirit of offering a service that somebody values. In fact, he recommended working for a company first. The point is that once you believe in yourself and have an entrepreneurial spirit, you can be successful in business.
The second thing that I want to share with you is the comments made by last year’s winner, Tim Silvia. He runs an organic food truck and was a guest speaker. He was out of breath when he ran onstage, having seconds before been in the middle of cooking in his truck, parked nearby. His message to the audience was to learn as much as you can while you’re in school. But to me, his most important message was his enthusiasm for his work. You couldn’t miss it, watching the flour fly off of his hands as he spoke. You just know he’s the type of person who will do well in business.
But being a small business owner should be easier than it is. Government makes it way too hard for small business owners like Tim. We should have a system that helps entrepreneurs, rather than taxing them a third of their income right out of school. That’s criminal. Business owners jump through enough hoops to please their customers, never mind the government.