A Relaxing, Fun, and Fast Way to Grow (4 TED Talks)

What are TED Talks?

Wise people share their advice  at TED and TEDx conferences around the world and then broadcast them so everyone (including businesses like yours) can benefit.

What began more than 30 years ago as a conference about technology, entertainment and design has evolved into a global phenomenon sharing ideas on everything from science to social justice to business.

When you’re busy running your business, taking time to learn new skills or expand your thinking is often tough. But TED talks enable you to stay smart and competitive — from your phone, tablet, desktop, or laptop.

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Here are four of our favorite TED talks for small business owners. Just grab a cup of coffee and settle in to watch and learn.

  1. Bill Gross: The Single Biggest Reason Why Startups Succeed. At Idealab, serial entrepreneur and venture capitalist Bill Gross and his team have launched more than 100 companies, including huge successes (Citysearch, CarsDirect, tickets.com) and many failures. Curious about why some businesses flourish and others fizzle, Gross looked at five common elements across both Idealab’s startups and others: ideas, team, business model, funding, and timing. In this TED talk, Gross shares the result of his research on what factor predicts the success or failure of a business more than any other. Hint: It’s probably not the one you expected.
  2. Laura Vanderkam: How to Gain Control of Your Free Time. To understand how very busy people manage their time, time management expert Laura Vanderkam asked working women to keep activity logs. One week during the study, a participant came home to find water all over her basement from a leaky water heater. Dealing with the repair and cleanup took seven hours out of her week. Most of us, Vanderkam points out, would never imagine we could find seven hours to deal with something unexpected — but the participant had to, because dealing with the flood was urgent. Vanderkam’s point: Effective time management means treating our priorities, the things that are really important to us, like that leaky water heater. “Time is highly elastic,” she says. “It will stretch to accommodate what we choose to put into it.”
  3. Seth Godin: The Tribes We Lead. Recorded in 2009 but still highly relevant, Godin’s TED talk offers a provocative new perspective on marketing in our global, internet-powered economy. It’s not about pushing your idea (or product, brand, service) out to the masses via advertising; it’s about finding your “tribe,” the true believers whose interests align with yours, who adore what you sell, who are excited to be part of your shared universe, and who will talk you up to their friends. How can your business become part of (or create) a community of like-minded people, tell your story, and harness the power of your tribe to grow?
  4. Regina Hartley: Why The Best Hire Might Not Have the Perfect Resume. Human resources executive Regina Hartley explains that she divides resumes into two categories. “Silver Spoons” are the candidates who clearly had advantages growing up: Ivy League schools, perfect grades, great recommendations. But it’s the “Scrappers” who pique her interest, with their state schools, job-hopping and stints as singing waitresses and cashiers. Hartley explains the concept of Post-Traumatic Growth, and why, faced with two qualified but very different candidates, she always recommends betting on the Scrapper. This TED talk will change the way you look at every resume that crosses your desk.

One of the smartest things you can do as a small business owner (or aspiring business owner) is to make time to learn from the experts. Where do you turn for expert advice? Tell us in the comments below.

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