Interview with Adam Toren, Co-Author of Small Business, BIG Vision
Written by Dave Lavinsky on Monday, September 26, 2011
I recently had the opportunity to interview Adam Toren, co-author of the new book Small Business, BIG Vision.
1. How is your new book, Small Business, BIG Vision, different from other business books on the market?
Well, I don’t want to knock any other books out there, because there really are some great business books with very valuable information in them. But when we set out to create our book, my brother Matthew and I were very clear that we didn’t want to produce “just another business book.” So we looked at what was missing in the business and entrepreneur genre. What we came up with was the concept we used in Small Business, BIG Vision – a book packed with real, practical, actionable advice that any entrepreneur can put into practice immediately, on the topics entrepreneurs ask about most. Then we included profiles of highly successful entrepreneurs who have used the same principles presented by us in the book to achieve their own success. So the book provides useful advice, and then it backs it up with proof that it really works!
2. You profile successful entrepreneurs in each chapter of the book. What’s one profile that stands out?
Well, we have a lot of well-known entrepreneurs in the book who have done amazing things. We’ve got Matt Mickiewicz of SitePoint and 99designs, Gary Vaynerchuk sharing his insights on social media, and personal branding expert Dan Schawbel, to name a few. But one that stands out to me, who many people might not have heard of is Scott Harrison, the founder of charity: water. Scott has an amazing story, and what he’s been able to accomplish with his organization is truly amazing. One of the things I love about what Scott has done is that he’s applied the success principles of a for-profit startup to a non-profit company. His marketing and branding is second to none, and it’s really paid off. To date, charity: water has brought sustainable, clean drinking water to over 2 million people worldwide. As I said, it’s an amazing story.
3. What is one concept you hope everyone takes away from reading Small Business, BIG Vision?
There are a lot of important entrepreneurial concepts presented in the book. When we wrote it, we set out to answer the most frequently asked entrepreneurial questions, and I believe we accomplished that objective. If I had to choose just one, I would say that the overall theme of the book – that you need to create and follow a Big Vision, is something everyone should take away.
If you have a clear view of your vision and your planning creates the path to that vision, so many other things fall into place naturally. When a question of which direction to take comes up in your business (as they so often do), you can look to your vision for the answer. Which choice best supports you reaching the vision you have for your company? Asking that question makes decision making infinitely easier. Also, having a strong vision keeps you going when times are hard. If you can call up your vision in your mind and focus on that, it will help you to push through any obstacle.
4. How old were you when you started your first business?
My brother and I were in grade school. He was 8 and I was 7. Our grandfather Joe set us up selling little stunt flyers – super-light airplanes – at a local festival. It was a blast, and we sold out in a weekend. I still remember thinking that even though we worked hard, it was “easy money” because we loved it so much. That’s pretty much how Matthew and I still look at entrepreneurship. We feel very fortunate to do what we do. It’s hard work, and it certainly doesn’t always go according to plan, but there’s no doubt, there is nothing we’d rather be doing.
5. What advice do you have for someone who wants to start their own business today?
If there’s a “formula for success” in entrepreneurship, it has to do with mixing passion with integrity and hard work. Whether you’re starting your first or fifteenth business, those three ingredients have the best chance of getting you to where you want to be.
Passion for what your doing makes the work fun and helps you get through the tough times when things aren’t going the way you’d like. Without it, challenges will seem bigger, and you’re more likely to throw in the towel when faced with problems. Integrity is a must for any successful business person. There is still a misperception out there among some people that business owners are all greedy and will do anything to get to the top, but the nothing could be further from the truth. The business owners I know and deal with regularly are some of the most honest, caring people you’ll ever meet. And they’re success is a direct result of their integrity. Last but not least, it takes hard work and perseverance to make it as an entrepreneur. There are no actual overnight success stories. Everyone who has found true success has done it through taking the right actions, and that includes working for as long and as hard as it takes, until you reach your Big Vision!
Adam Toren is an Award Winning Author, Serial Entrepreneur and Investor. He Co-Founded YoungEntrepreneur.com. Adam is co-author of the newly released book: Small Business, Big Vision: "Lessons on How to Dominate Your Market from Self-Made Entrepreneurs Who Did it Right" and also co-author of Kidpreneurs.
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