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Monday, February 28, 2011

A NOTE FROM THE FOUNDER: How Entrepreneurs Can Escape the "Rugged Individualism" Trap

How Entrepreneurs Can Escape the "Rugged Individualism" Trap

by Adam J. Kovitz

I was delighted to have "touched a nerve" with our readers last week with my article The War on Small Business and What One Company is Doing About It.  I have received several comments about it, such as the following:
"Dear Adam,

Great article this week!  I truly thing this is one of your finest works since I joined TNNWC back in the summer.  I thought you hit it all Right on the Head!  I don't know how much you know about companies such as Walmart, but they are notorious at holding their small business vendors hostage, often stringing them out needlessly for nearly a year on occasion.  Horrible people, really."
Several other comments were of this ilk and I wanted to continue the theme this week as I have been talking with other entrepreneurs about their own goals and objectives.  

One of the main notions that I have been contemplating is that of the "rugged individualist".  This ideal picture of one who can, on their own, brave hostile conditions and not just survive, but thrive,  is the same spirit that drove Westward expansion in the United States in the 1800's as well as the "American Dream" of owning a business, growing it and striking it rich (or at least, making a decent living).  Sounds great, right?

But there's a dark side to this individual is way too easy to be divided and conquered, much in the way that large corporations are currently having their way with our government - because they can - at our expense (see my aforementioned article for one such example).  

Here's how we've been trapped:
1.)  We're too busy to know what's going on because we're focused on trying to keep our businesses profitable
2.)  It's much easier to ignore cats than to herd them
3.)  The few "bones" we've been thrown such as the recent Small Business Jobs Act looks great for PR, and my help a few businesses, but is impotent to solve some of the more larger, systemic issues
4.)  Many of us suffer from anxiety and depression due to tight financial strains.

Here's the good news...we can learn from history...

When we look back to the turn of the last century in the United States, we had a large influx of immigrants from Ireland and Italy as well as Jews seeking freedom from persecution.  Many of these "new" immigrants lived in ghettos with other immigrants from the same countries - they were strangers in a strange land who, quite often, were shunned by the "mainstream".  For every exclusive club set up to exclude the elite from the "dregs", the dregs put together their own social clubs and societies, many of which included theater and music.

Several of these immigrants would eventually go on to being received by the public and integrated into society - Spencer Tracy, Errol Flynn, Walter Lantz (of Woody Woodpecker fame), the Marx Brothers and the Three Stooges are all examples of those who would influence the stage, radio, the screen and even the "small" screen.

Q:  So what does this have to do with us entrepreneurs?

A:  Everything!

Aside from arts and entertainment, many of these groups formed businesses to serve their communities - miniature economies that were given the chance to grow.

As an entrepreneurial community, we too, are now strangers in a strange land.  Being forced to play a game (a.k.a., our global economy) that others have already seemingly won, or at least have tipped the scales heavily in their favor to win.  We can choose to remain trapped under the weight of an outdated system and forever be slaves to others who don't have our best interests at heart (if there's anything left of their hearts), or...

We can choose to form communities of entrepreneurs to serve entrepreneurs and their families.  We can, wherever possible, choose to do business with each other rather than support our larger counterparts.  We have the advantage of creative thinking, innovation and the desire for something other than the status quo.  

These communities, can with enough support, over time, become economies unto themselves - it doesn't matter what country such enterprises are from (I'm sure several will be international), as long as they are willing to be part of an interdependent whole.

As a matter of fact, we have the beginnings of such a structure.  We call it TNNWC Group.  It's a company, it's a cause, it's a community, it's a suite of services and publications, it's an economy waiting to happen, it's our future...we invite it to be your future as well.  

Here are the many ways you and your company can take part in our mutual future:
1.)  Keep reading us
2.)  Become a member if you're not already one - it's free
3.)  Invite your friends, family and business associates to join
4.)  Write for our publications to get your voice heard amongst our growing ranks
5.)  Take advantage of our proprietary suite of services - they are those crucial services that all emerging enterprises need for growth
6.)  Joint venture with us by providing a service that we don't currently offer by becoming a strategic service provider or a divisional president.  We are a confederation of entrepreneurs who work collaboratively to serve entrepreneurs.

Choose TNNWC, and choose success.

All my best,


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The Emergence of The Relationship Economy
The Emergence of the Relationship Economy features TNNWC Founder, Adam J. Kovitz as a contributing author and contains some of his early work on The Laws of Relationship Capital. The book is available in hardcopy and e-book formats. With a forward written by Doc Searls (of Cluetrain Manifesto fame), it is considered a "must read" for anyone responsible for the strategic direction of their business. If you would like to purchase your own copy, please click the image above.


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