3 Business Success Stories for Inspiration


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Dreams really do come true—at least for theses three entrepreneurs that took an idea and created a successful business out of it. Hopefully, these amazing stories will inspire all of you innovators and dreamers to take your idea to the next level and maybe make your dreams come true.

1. Clayton Christopher (Sweet Leaf Tea)

From an early age, Clayton Christopher always believed he would own a business. His father had been an entrepreneur, so running a business was something that ran in the family, and sooner or later it would be his turn.

While Clayton had spent years as a competitive cyclist and charter boat captain, his calling came the day he was introduced to an Alabama businessman. Christopher was enchanted by the passionate way the man spoke about one topic: making iced tea. This was the inspiration Christopher needed.

With only $10,000 to his name and some financial help from his dad, Christopher began making tea that would meet his standards for great taste. After a time of struggling to make ends meet, it finally caught on in huge way. The rest is history.

Today, Sweet Leaf Tea is sold all across the world and has been featured on major television networks.

 2. Maureen Kelly (Tarte)

Growing up in a New York suburb, Maureen Kelly was always interested in makeup. As a child, she would apply makeup to dolls and as she got a little older, she participated in makeovers with her friends. But as a young woman, Kelly was frustrated with certain elements of buying and using makeup. The way the packages look, the synthetic ingredients—it wasn’t the way Kelly thought makeup should be.

Kelly took her savings and a credit card and started Tarte so she could deliver a cosmetics product that fit needs not currently being met. She believed makeup should be chic in its packaging and healthy to use, elements of the experience she felt were missing in the current market.

Through strong marketing web presence, Tarte took off in a huge way, and is now a major player in cosmetics. Kelly stresses the importance of the Internet for young businesses, and giving back as part of an overall philosophy (Tarte partnered with Habitat for Humanity).

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3. Jeff Walker (Internet Alchemy)

Jeff Walker was a stay-at-home dad in a small Colorado town when he made the decision to order an instructional product about publishing online for money. The year was 1995, so the Internet was still a fairly new phenomenon. But that decision would be the beginning of a multi-million dollar journey for Walker, who used the information to launch his own financial advice emails.

He started out with 19 email addresses. He now makes millions and teaches others how to do the same. He advises entrepreneurs to make connections and network, be patient, and never stop learning things. These are some of the qualities that have taken Walker from small-town dad to multimillionaire.

If you have an idea you’d like to turn into a business, consider these stories as an inspiration and a reminder that anything is possible.


How to Have Effective Team Meetings


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Some days, meetings can get away from us. What we thought would be a 30-minute meeting turns into 2 hours. Meetings can be a big time waster if they aren’t done efficiently.

Some meetings can simply be done through email, while some are actually pretty important. The first step in having effective meetings is figuring this out. If team members aren’t brainstorming and are simply sharing ideas, complete the sharing process through email. However, if team members want input and/or to discuss these ideas, have the meeting instead.

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Once it has been decided that a meeting is essential, follow these steps beforehand to have a quick and effective meeting:

Create an Agenda

This will ensure you don’t get too off track and will remember everything that needs to be discussed during the meeting. Send this around to everyone involved beforehand, as well as a general timeline that you expect to meet.

Make Sure Everyone is Prepared

If team members need to read over a document beforehand to understand something that will be discussed, make sure they know this. If they need to prepare something, make sure that gets done as well. Meetings can become pointless if some people don’t have the information they need or are unable to answer questions.

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Create a Meeting Follow-Up Plan

Too often people agree to something in a meeting and then completely forget about it. Sending out a roundup following the meeting that recaps who is doing what by when and a quick overview of what was discussed will ensure everyone gets their job done.

Ask for Feedback

Maybe your employees have an idea that will make meetings more effective. Ask for feedback and try implementing it when possible. Ask questions such as:

  • Do you feel our meetings are productive?
  • If not, what could we do to change that?
  • Is there anything we could stop or start doing to make them more effective?