In the car with my best friend on a sunny afternoon, she talked about a really cool, simple idea that could be the basis of the next woman owned billion dollar business. Yes, we said Billion. No, we’re NOT going to tell you the cool, simple idea because we want to see her build it! But, it reminded us of the Malcolm Forbes quote “The biggest mistake people make in life is not trying to make a living doing what they most enjoy.” We’d modify it bit, and change it to … doing what they feel most passionate about. We think that is the perfect definition of what motivated the majority of SDMWVLGBTBEs (Small, Disadvantaged, Disabled, Minority, Women, Veteran, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgendered Business Enterprises) to start their business empires (smile, that was intended as gentle sarcasm).
Our story, our founder spent six years watching technical people being taken advantage of and thought she could find a path that would make customers and consultants happy while making a fair profit, 33 years later she’s more passionate about diversity and inclusion but that’s what life is about, growth and expansion, right? The biggest hurdle she faced along the way — the wall of people who said “no, you can’t do that” in one way or another. The banks, the competitors, the now ex-husband, the family members. It’s silly, it can’t be done, it will cost too much, blah, blah, blah, wah, wah, … do you suppose all entrepreneurs begin to hear Charlie Brown’s teacher’s voice when the negativity piles up around them? Wonder what this year’s INC Magazine’s 30 under 30 entrepreneurs thought when they heard no? Because they obviously just kept going forward.
It seems to us that if the business founder has a passion for the idea or product then s/he will find a way to make it come to fruition. It might not be rocket science, but there are people in Pittsburgh solving real world problems in: Trusst Lingerie; Nikki’s Magic Wands; 84 Lumber’s Green Building Supplies; CPI Creative branding solutions; On-Site Travel Director’s assistance; terrific Leona’s ice cream sandwiches at Nancy’s East End Diner (best breakfast on our side of town).
So many of today’s gigantic businesses started in college dorm rooms like Facebook (“My goal was never to just create a company. A lot of people misinterpret that, as if I don’t care about revenue or profit or any of those things. But what not being just a company means to me is building something that actually makes a really big change in the world.” ~ Mark Zuckerberg) or Google (“The dream as conceived 25 years ago has not been achieved. Until software becomes the ultimate tool for collaboration, productivity, and efficiency, the work is not done. And there’s nothing more fun than doing that work.” ~ Larry Page), while older ones began in garages like Microsoft (“Paul and I, we never thought that we would make much money out of the thing. We just loved writing software.” ~ Bill Gates) and Apple (“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.” ~ Steve Jobs).
Who knows where the next bright idea will be born — perhaps it really was in our Jeep on Pennsylvania’s Route 28. Stay tuned.