THE SMALL BUSINESS
OF SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE
From Rachel Zoe to Steve Blank,
here's how successful people triumphed in
"Treat your team like a family (even when things are tough) and be quick to
help someone out whenever you can. Be polite and cordial always. The fashion
industry, like all industries, is a very small world, so you never know who you
are going to work with again down the line."
Rachel Zoe CEO, Rachel Zoe, Inc.
"In the long run, the entrepreneurial journey is more rewarding than any particular
milestone. Enjoy each day as it comes. Build some fun into your work schedule. Also,
the quality of the people you hire and partner with is the most important indicator of
whether your business will succeed. Hire smart and treat your team right."
Angie Hicks Founder and CMO, Angie’s List
"Most Etsy businesses start out as one person with a dream, but they grow in
powerful ways. Sixty-eight percent of Etsy sellers report that the money they earn
matters to their families, and the American Independent Business
Alliance reports that — compared to chain stores — independent businesses return
more than three times the money into local economies. In a very real way, how you
choose to shop has the power to change the world."
Chad Dickerson CEO at Etsy
"There are some strong parallels between
failing a business venture and failing to lose
weight. Startups need to better look at the
numbers, carefully monitoring profit margins,
cash flow and customer feedback."
Best-Selling Author and
Enterprise Performance Expert
"If your customers like you, why not ask
them to refer a friend? I’m not
recommending big asks — just using your
customers as the marketing team you
can’t afford. Not only will they say yes,
they’ll be excited to help. Because you
didn’t just ask them to help, you invited
them to become something more than
just a customer. Part of something bigger
than themselves. And that is something
everyone can get behind."
Marketing Professor, Wharton
"When I started RedBalloon, I would start
thinking about Christmas in late July.
What I have learned is there will be another Christmas.
Do the best with what you have, and enjoy the journey."
Naomi Simson Founder, RedBalloon
”Quality is really in the eye of the beholder. For a for-profit company, quality is
defined by what the customer wants. So if we are misaligned with what the
customer wants, then all the extra time we take to polish all the edges and get
everything right is actually wasted time."
Eric Ries Author of The Lean Startup
"When I was running a startup, I
introduced the ‘bat phone’ — a red cell
phone that rang with the theme song
from Batman every time someone
called in with a question or complaint.
The premise was that if customers
were our most important priority, we
should treat calls from them as critical
— like Batman would when his bat
President & COO Change.org
"The 'Startup Hotel' was the hole-in-the-wall that we stayed in to pinch pennies in
those beginning months of a startup company. They were great because they were a
tangible adventure in the early stages — and it was also a living example to investors
and others that you were making sacrifices to make your company work."
Chris Seper CEO, MedCity Media
"I love my job, but it sometimes troubles me how little empathy or sympathy small
business owners get in return. Contrary to hired CEOs, small business owners have
no choice but to stay aboard their own ship and keep sailing, whether the weather is
excellent or a huge storm is at the horizon.
Yet there’s a huge difference in salary."
Inge Geerdens Entrepreneur
"For the rest of my career when things got tough in a startup (being yelled at, working
until I dropped, running out of money, being on both ends of stupid decisions, pushing
people to their limits, etc.), I would vividly remember seeing that empty spot on the
flight line. It put everything in perspective."
Steve Blank Co-Author, The Startup Owner’s Manual
"Every small business in our town, and everywhere, is owned by someone with a
family that needs support. When you shop small, you support families in your own
town... This year, shop small for Uncle Leo, Frankie, Dvora, Cousin Julie, and Allie.”
Dave Kerpen CEO, Likeable Local