National Role Models Month – Who Inspires You in Business?

November is designated as National Inspirational Role Models month and it got me thinking; as entrepreneurs or business owners, who are our role models? Who are the individuals who have influenced our business savvy?

Chances are we choose those people whose character and choices we can respect. They have somehow shown us things we didn’t know or held out an example of what it means to make things happen in the marketplace. We may even be in business because of those people.

You may be inspired by Richard Branson’s (Virgin Group) competitive spirit and his resiliency with taking on the giants unafraid. “To be successful, you have to be out there, you have to hit the ground running, and if you have a good team around you and more than a fair share of luck, you might make something happen. But you certainly can’t guarantee it just by following someone else’s formula.”

Maybe your role model is the late Anita Roddick; British businesswoman and Founder of the cosmetics company, The Body Shop. Mixing her convictions with business, her cosmetic company was one of the first to block the use of ingredients tested on animals. Serving more than 77 million customers in 51 different markets, she referred to “entrepreneurship as survival” and that it “nurtures creative thinking.”

Some business owners are inspired by family members who demonstrated great initiative or stubborn persistence in making their dreams come true; while others look to their peers to serve as inspirational role models. I know that there are at least two individuals who I respect in business. They have demonstrated how ‘boot strap’ starts can result in very profitable enterprises.

It is important as a business owner to acknowledge the attributes of your role models and the reasons you selected them to inspire you. If you don’t have any role models, perhaps you could consider what areas of your business might benefit from the presence of someone who inspires you.

When I seek out role models, I ask myself:
1. What is it about their character that I admire?
2. What business did they start and why?
3. What are some of the obstacles they overcame?
4. What can I learn from their choices?
5. How did they take their business from good to great?
6. What makes them so unique in their chosen field?

Role models could become your mentors one day, so be sure to celebrate those who inspire you.

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