Creating a Global Entrepreneurial Ecosystem

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Most people build a business for one of two reasons: either to create a legacy or to have an exit strategy. Of the two options, leaving a legacy is the more ideal goal. Sure, it takes time, but the legacy you leave behind is worth it.

In some ways, building a business that leaves a legacy is very similar to the evolution of our planet Earth. For example, if the economic habitat of your business is not sufficiently favorable (i.e.: 911 crisis), or nurturing (i.e.: employees are unhappy), your business will struggle to reach self-sufficiency and self-management, and will most likely die.

On the other hand, if the economic habitat is favorable, your business will grow and you will be able to pass on your legacy. Apple is a great example. When Steve Jobs left Apple, there was lack of leadership. The business tried to reach self-sufficiency and self-management, but couldn’t and it was close to dying. When Jobs returned to Apple, he revitalized the habitat by bringing in the best employees with the best work ethics and brought life back into the organization. Steve Jobs said “We hire people who want to make the best things in the world,” they achieved success not with their technology, but with their people.

Apple had the best-in-class offerings and created state-of- the-art products. They were driven to do what they love and by doing so, they not only created tools for us to evolve, but they also created innovation and progress. Similar to the artists, scientists, musicians, philosophers and architects of the world, money was not their motivator. Jobs said, “Don’t do it for the money.” They cared more about the work and the synergy of the group, “… Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do”.

Look to the Future

The whole purpose of life and business is to pass on what we learn. I don’t believe there is a higher purpose. People often ask me, “What should we do with all the knowledge we accumulate?” My answer is simple, “Pass it on.” As with all things in life, knowledge is accumulated through hard work and dedication. Some people who have achieved success know what to do to transfer all the knowledge they have accumulated, while others struggle with how to do that. Akin to artists and scientists, they have good work ethics and are driven to create. Extremely successful people work very hard in creating and developing tools and toys that improve our lives. For them, it was never about the money, but rather about giving back. They pass on their knowledge and their technology. This has been going on throughout the centuries.

Likewise, successful executives donate billions! Their interest is in passing on their knowledge and technology. By mentoring aspiring entrepreneurs, you too can pass on your knowledge.

Start with the following:

  • Hold lectures, seminars and webinars.
  • Write articles and books.
  • Become affiliated with a university.
  • Do free speaking engagements.

Pass on your knowledge and inspire others. We didn’t know we needed an iPad or an iPhone, but today, we couldn’t imagine our lives without them. Passing on technology improves lives and fosters innovation and evolution. What drove successful executives, such as Steve Jobs and Bill Gates? For sure, it was never about the money!

Artists, scientists, musicians, philosophers, architects, and entrepreneurs are all inspired by their talents. I firmly believe entrepreneurs are artists and the idea of creating a business, and successfully doing so, comes from our drive and talents. Over the years, from aviation to communication to transportation, we have evolved and innovated. The way we accomplished this is by passing on our knowledge from generation to generation.

What proof do we have of the existence of a soul of a business besides the economical aspect and numbers? Time gives legitimacy to its existence. Time is the only true unit of measure; it gives proof to the existence of matter. Without time, the business does not exist, and we do not exist. So decide right now: Will your business be just an exit strategy … or will it be a legacy?

Benjamin Von Seeger is an entrepreneur, frequent C-suite member and telecommunications veteran with twenty years of global business experience. His book The RiVal: Play the Game, Own the Hustle, Power in Competition, Longevity in Collaboration (out now) draws on vast personal experience and proven philosophy to inspire a new generation of businesspeople and students. Visit his website and follow Ben on Twitter @benvonseeger.
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