Being an entrepreneur can seem a lonely task. A single good idea is meant to expand into a profitable business, just off the hard work of a lone individual. The daily grind can wear even the most resilient, energetic entrepreneur down.
If you feel like you’re hitting a wall with your business, you just need a little inspiration to break through it. Perhaps you need to look at an old question in a new light. Perhaps you need to find innovative ways to address your customers’ needs. Perhaps you just need to find the work-life balance that allows you to come back to your work refreshed and ready to go.
To find these and even more ideas to help you reignite your passion for your business, check out these 5 inspirational TED Talks for entrepreneurs.
Seth Godin: How to get your ideas to spread
Seth Godin is the marketing guru that just about every digital marketer follows religiously, so when he talks about getting ideas to spread, you know you’re going to get some great insights. This TED Talk is more than a decade old now, but the basic concepts still hold true.
The best part is that this speech is as entertaining as it is informative. The way he takes examples like Wonder bread, Jeff Koontz and one of his failed marketing projects and gleans useful insights into making your ideas or products spread is truly amazing.
As he insists over and over again: ideas that spread, win.
Malcolm Gladwell: Choice, happiness and spaghetti sauce
What does spaghetti and the vast amount of choice we have in the supermarkets have to tell the entrepreneur? Leave it to Malcolm Gladwell, the author of books like ‘Outliers: The Story of Success’, to connect the dots for us. In this talk, he explains what we can learn from the development of spaghetti sauce in America.
In short, food scientist Howard Moskowitz had a theory that there wasn’t one perfect product that would satisfy every person. Instead, consumers fell into categories of preference – a point he proved when a failing spaghetti sauce company turned to him in desperation. With one major research project, he proved that customers aren’t going to be able to tell companies how to make a product that will appeal to all of them.
Malcolm then takes us through the three key ways Howard has changed the way food companies think about their customer base. In turn, you will begin to look at your customers differently, too.
Rachel Botsman: The currency of the new economy is trust
The internet has not just connected us online, Rachel Botsman argues. It has connected us in real life, making our real-world reputation the basis of a new kind of economy. This economy is based on collaborative consumption, defined as “a social and economic system driven by network technologies that enable the sharing and exchange of assets from spaces to skills to cars in ways and on a scale never possible before.”
Essentially, we are able to take the skills and items we have, and – thanks to the internet – we can find someone in our area willing to pay (usually a smaller amount of) money to use those things. Of course, this couldn’t work without trust. Both people in this situation need to trust that the other is going to behave well.
Rachel then insists that websites like AirBnB and TaskRabbit are doing so well because technology allows us to research each others reputations. In that way, personal reputations are more crucial to success in the collaborative economy than the things people can offer others or the money they get in return.
Naturally, Rachel argues, this will transform how people interact with both with strangers and with established companies in the years to come, as the collaborative economy grows and becomes more prominent.
Nigel Marsh: How to make work-life balance work
When Nigel Marsh turned 40, he had an epiphany. He worked too hard, ate too much, drank too much. So he quit his job and spent a year at home, trying to rebalance his life. And he did. But, he acknowledges in his introduction, it is very easy to strike a satisfying work-life balance when you have no work to go to. He then went back to work and spent the next seven years writing about, researching and trying out various ways to strike that perfect work-life balance.
So what is the answer in a world where so many jobs are fundamentally incompatible with raising a family? Nigel says that the answer lies in truly understanding the problems, like how thousands of people go to jobs they hate to buy things they don’t need to impress people they don’t like, and most work-life balance advice doesn’t address this.
Instead, he offers advice that encourages us to think about what balance means to us, what sort of time frame we need to strike this balance, why corporations and the government can’t give us the answers and more.
Gayle Tzemach Lemmon: Women entrepreneurs, example not exception
Women owned businesses will create 5 million jobs by 2015 in the US, and they run 20% of all small businesses in China. In the whole of the developing world, women run 40-50% of the small businesses so critical to an economy’s success. Women have huge ambitions for their businesses and they make eager entrepreneurs, so why can’t they seem to get out of the productivity rut they are so often in? Why is it so much harder for them to get the capital they need to expand their businesses?
In this enlightening talk, Gayle Tzemach Lemmon explores the roots of this imbalance, the affects of the people in charge overlooking the huge numbers and power of women entrepreneurs and how we can address it.
These five TED Talks give any entrepreneur a lot to think about: how to grab attention in a busy, time-poor world, how to ask the right questions to understand what customers don’t even know they want, how online reputations will be the deciding factor when customers choose between service and product providers and much more.
With these new insights, you should feel that buzz of excitement at a new opportunity that drew you into entrepreneurship to begin with.