Issue 8 of RISBJ Featuring All About Home Care


Welcome to issue 8 of RISBJ! As we move into the Fall season, we bring you yet another content packed issue with great articles from some of your favorite local entrepreneurs.  As we put together our issue each month, I am fortunate to work closely with business leaders from across our state. Their passion and knowledge are such a valuable part of what has helped RISBJ make a big impact on the small business community in such a short amount of time. This past month, I was able to speak with many successful business leaders from across the country.

On October 9th I had the opportunity to attend the Startup America Regional Champions Summit in Chicago. The quarterly summits are always inspirational. While at the summit we were able to share stories from within each of the entrepreneurial ecosystems throughout our country, learning from other region’s successes and failures. The highlights of the summit were meeting successful serial entrepreneurs Steve Case, co-founder of AOL, Brad Keywell, co-founder of Groupon and Jason Fried, co-founder of 37 Signals.

Each entrepreneur provided valuable insight that they have learned over their decades of experience. Brad Keywell shared stories of his successful business ventures that started in college and continued on after his graduation. In order to successfully build scalable companies, Brad realized early on that he needed an easy way to determine how much money his companies were making at any given point in time. With Groupon and other companies that Brad is involved with, he can tell at any moment during the day how much his companies have made. The impact of having full access to how much money your business has made today, this week, this month and this year at your fingertips at all times goes well beyond profitability. It helps to make a business more efficient and more attentive to cash flow.

Jason Fried’s story was much different. What I heard from Jason is something that I believe in and try to practice as an entrepreneur – the idea of reinventing yourself and your business as the market changes. Jason started a web design company in 1999 and created project management software for internal use to help streamline projects. The software was so powerful that in 2004 the company released its software, known as Basecamp, which became so successful that the company left the web design business and instead became a web application company. By identifying a need in his own company and then identifying a wide-spread use for his software, Jason found a niche that ultimately lead to greater success as an entrepreneur.

As part of our summit, we were also invited to Chicago Ideas Week, which is the brainchild of Brad Keywell. Chicago Ideas Week is a weeklong program of panel discussions, speakers and demonstrations. We sat in on the session “Disruptive Innovation: Reinventing Our World” which featured Steve Case. Steve shared his story about how he and his team set out to “disrupt” the world by launching the online giant AOL back in the 80’s. The part of the story we rarely ever hear about is the nearly 10 years it took to launch and the additional four years it took to get IBM to build a modem into the PC. Steve told us to “Be Patient. Transformative ideas rarely happen overnight.”

Whether we begin our journey in college, reinvent ourselves after years of success or wait 14 years for our “disruptive” ideas to take shape, every successful entrepreneur has faced challenges and setbacks. It just goes to show us that persistence often does pay off in the end.

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