Why Ben Franklin is So Cool

I just finished Ben Franklin’s autobiography. The subtitle’s quite relevant for today’s small business owner: “America’s Original Entrepreneur.”

The book opened my eyes about basic entrepreneurship. It started out being “one who undertakes an enterprise.” Ben created enterprises for the public good, not personal profit. Did he profit? Yes. But that wasn’t his motivation. Today that definition’s been warped a bit to mean one who creates wealth for personal profit. His desire to do public good DROVE him to create all these enterprises.

I like the original definition better. It feeds into my small business needs BIG enthusiasm argument. If you don’t believe in what you’re doing, how will anyone else? Yes, some folks can sell stuff they don’t believe in for the money and not experience guilt (or at least not for awhile). That’s one of the reasons the economy tanked. Some folks didn’t care they were selling make believe products for a lot of money.

Ben says, “I became convinced that truth, authenticity and integrity in all interpersonal dealings were foundational to success and happiness.”

I too believe you can do good and make money, just like Ben. He grew up in poverty with just a few years of formal education. His enthusiasm for life and dogged persistence brought him wealth, fame and happiness. He invented the lightening rod, bifocal glasses, the Franklin Stove, authored Poor Richard’s Almanac, and founded Philadelphia’s first fire department and The University of Pennsylvania. Not to mention he signed the Declaration of Independence.

Talk about a go-getter.

How about you? What enterprise can you undertake for the public good? Perhaps, looking at your business from this new angle will infuse it with more energy. Just a thought!

#Ben #Franklin #Cool

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