Unconventional Lessons for Entrepreneurs from the American Revolution

in dsound •  3 months ago


Unconventional Lessons for Entrepreneurs from the American Revolution

By Terry Brock for DSound and Steemit

Sometimes, entrepreneurs have to be unconventional.

We have a clear example of being unconventional with what the American rebels did against the powerful British Empire to secure American independence. Imagine you're in this situation:

  1. You're up against the greatest military power in the world. The Americans were farmers, hunters, backwoodsmen, and "just plain folk." Any betting person would have said the Colonists didn’t stand a chance at the beginning of the conflict.

  2. You feel all alone. The Americans had no other nation backing them at the outset. In addition to that, the Colonists were not united. Many historians tell us that it was only one third of the people in the colonies that wanted independence. One third of the people were loyal to the British (“Tories”). The final third really didn't care.

  3. Your resources are severely limited. Food, water, and medical supplies were limited or nonexistent. Army desertions were high. The picture was bleak.

Things did not look good for these scrappy Colonists. So what was it that changed? More importantly, what lessons can we learn today from what the American revolutionaries practiced back in the 18th Century?

The Americans embraced procedures and techniques that the British Empire did not. For example, the Americans did not march in straight lines in European-style warfare. The Colonists would hide behind trees and take pot shots at the British when they could. The Colonists were scrappy and invented solutions as they went along. To say they were unconventional is an understatement.

The Americans also had the benefit of surprise. They used this strategy in the battle of Trenton. The Colonists confronted the British when the British did not expect an attack. George Washington used this to gain much-needed public support.

The Americans also used ingenuity. They developed a technology called "the American rifle" which was more accurate and shot a longer distance than the British rifles. This gave the Americans the ability to shoot officers, an unconventional practice then, from a distance.

Notice what was happening here. The Americans used superior technology and embraced unconventional strategies. Often your success will come in a combination of elements rather than one single tool or technique.

Now let's bring it forward to lessons for us. Today, in business you're faced with enormous competition who can move at lightning speed, is international, and often has more resources than you. This can be depressing. Entrepreneurs know that sometimes things just don't go the way you want. So what's a scrappy, unconventional entrepreneur to do today?

Learn the lessons of the American rebels. Find out what the competition is doing and then do something different. Professional speaker Joel Weldon says it is very important to "Find out what others are doing–– then don't do it.”

In every situation one party will have an advantage over the other in certain areas. Successful people are able to identify those important areas where they have an advantage and exploit them. What is it that you can do that your competition can't? What is it that they can't do as easily because you can make decisions faster? Often the smart, scrappy entrepreneur can make decisions faster than a bloated bureaucracy. Your ability to make decisions fast can give you a strong advantage.

Americans combined their success with eliminating British officers, their innovative technologies, and the eloquence of Benjamin Franklin working with King Louis XVI of France. This combination persuaded King Louis XVI of France to join the war with the Americans against France’s long-time foe, Great Britain.

Examine what resources you have, however limited, and deploy them carefully. Develop new technologies or master existing technologies that others have not yet mastered. Let the right technologies give you a competitive advantage.

Finally, be creative and think about alliances that you can create by building strategic relationships. Find ways you can achieve the goals of others that they couldn't achieve on their own. This was the thinking behind Benjamin Franklin and his negotiations with King Louis XVI.

Embrace these principles for your business and you can secure your own independence.

What do you think? I welcome the comments you have, my fellow DSounders and Steemians. Please leave a comment and as always, we greatly appreciate your upvotes. Thank you and I look forward to hearing from you.

Terry

Terry L. Brock, MBA, CSP, CPAE
Member, Professional Speaker Hall of Fame
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2018 Recipient of the National Speakers Association's Highest Award, The Cavett

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Former Editor-in-Chief for AT&T's Networking Exchange Blog
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Entrepreneurship is considered a factor of production because economic resources can exist it an economy and not be transformed into consumer goods.

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