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There has never been a more exciting time to be an entrepreneur, whether it’s building a company from a blank sheet of paper, launching or investing in a franchise, or starting something new inside an established organization. In the old world of business, the strong took from the weak. If you had the deepest pockets, the biggest factories or labs, the best-known brands, you won by virtue of your power. In the new world of business, the smart take from the strong. The most successful entrepreneurs don’t try to out-compete their bigger rivals; they redefine the terms of competition by embracing one-of-a-kind ideas in a world filled with me-too thinking. Thanks to the revolutions in computing, communications, and social media, along with an explosion of new business models and new sources of financing, smaller and smaller groups of people can do bigger and bigger things. In this provocative and pragmatic keynote targeted to entrepreneurs, small-business leaders, and franchise owners and operators, Bill Taylor offers a set of principles and a collection of case studies drawn from some of the world’s most successful company-builders: founders of small banks, restaurants, retailers, consumer-product companies, software firms, franchises, even a parking garage. These hard-charging entrepreneurial leaders are winning big by changing the game in their fields. Bill offers a new business plan for entrepreneurial growth, and hands-on advice for turning goals into results.

Among the themes he emphasizes:

Originality is the litmus test of entrepreneurial strategy. The best entrepreneurs figure out how their products and services can stand out from the crowd—even as the crowd gets bigger, better, and noisier all the time. They have a definition of success for their business that allows them to stand for something special and inspires customers to stand with them.

The best entrepreneurial companies work as distinctively as they compete. You can’t create something special and compelling in the marketplace unless you also create something special and compelling in the workplace. For entrepreneurial companies, “who we are” as an energetic and nimble organizations is as important as “what we sell.” They don’t just think differently from everyone else, they can care more than everyone else—about customers, about partners, about the community.

Small gestures can send big signals—and create huge value. One of the virtues or being small, nimble, and agile, is that it allows entrepreneurial companies to be more than just efficient or reliable. It allows them to be memorable to encounter, to create emotional and psychological relationships with their customers that separate them from bigger, more bureaucratic rivals. That’s why entrepreneurs who aspire to do big things don’t lose sight of the small things that make such a huge impression inside and outside the organization.

The smartest entrepreneurs get the best contributions from the most people. It may be lonely at the top, but entrepreneurship is not a game best played by loners. These days, the most powerful contributions often come from the most unexpected places—the hidden genius inside your company, the quiet genius of colleagues who are easy to overlook. That’s why real entrepreneurial geniuses don’t pretend to know everything. They understand that their job is to get the best ideas from the most people—whomever and wherever those people may be.

New Rules of Entrepreneurship