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Best in Show

Entrepreneurs have an unusual capacity for blind faith. You believe in yourself, your ideas and your ability to succeed. You don't worry about things like that pesky law of physics, which, as I remember it, says it's impossible to create something out of nothing. Instead, every day you go forth and create so much that didn't exist the day before. And while we pay tribute to this entrepreneurial magic in every issue, this one is particularly jampacked with celebration.

You can share the joy with our 10th Annual Hot 100 honoring the 100 fastest-growing new entrepreneurial companies in America. When you read about companies that turned $500,000 into more than $86 million in less than four years or took $10,000 and built a nearly $8 million business in only two and a half years, you realize that truly nothing is impossible.

Or you can raise a glass to Liz Elting, the winner of this year's OPEN: The Small Business Network From American Express and Entrepreneur's Woman of the Year award. Liz started in her dorm room with $5,000 and, today, has worldwide sales of $35 million.

Another winner we feature this month has already been honored by none other than "The Donald." As I mentioned last month, I, like millions of Americans, got caught up in The Apprentice whirlwind. Every week, I was eager to tune in and watch business in action. And while the contestants came from many different business walks of life, I found myself rooting for Bill Rancic, because he was an entrepreneur. Unless you've been living under a rock, you know Rancic went on to win a job heading up one of Donald Trump's companies. Find out why Rancic attributes his success on the program to his entrepreneurial background. And speaking of The Donald, the man himself has some insights on how to spot (and capitalize) on a trend. You can find Trump's tips here.

All these celebrated entrepreneurs defied the creation tenet and built something out of nothing. And no matter how sucessful they are today, they all started small. (OK, Donald had a head start, but he created a much bigger something than he started with.) There are those who don't get or don't care that almost all successful entrepreneurs start out on a wing and a prayer. And while most of you Entrepreneur readers have owned your businesses for at least several years (the average is seven years), you never forget where you started from.

In that vein, I want to share the dream of a family I met while vacationing on Oahu. Parked in the middle of an otherwise vacant lot was a food truck. But this was more than your typical roach coach. The truck was named Vivian's Bistro. Scattered about the lot were nine tables adorned with flowers, umbrellas and beautiful potted plants. My entrepreneurial curiosity piqued, I found out the family had been in business for one month. This food truck was the seed for the restaurant they plan to open one day. Will they succeed? Who knows-the odds say no. But entrepreneurs wouldn't be entrepreneurs if they worried about the odds.

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This article was originally published in the June 2004 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Best in Show.

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