The stories behind successful entrepreneurs
Entrepreneurs and family businesspeople who enjoy long-term business success all follow a common procedure: they continually reinvent themselves, their businesses and, when relevant, their families, according to Lloyd Shefsky in his book Invent Reinvent Thrive: The Keys to Success for Any Start-Up, Entrepreneur or Family Business. While this sounds challenging, it is quite achievable because successful reinvention normally occurs one small step at a time.
The book is filled with stories of entrepreneurs and businesses which have achieved great success through their readiness to change course and reinvent their businesses when they encountered significant obstacles and opportunities, including: Tom Stemberg (Staples), Howard Schultz (Starbucks), Junior Bridgeman (restaurant franchisee), James Freeman (Blue Bottle Coffee), Michael Krasny (CDW), Maxine Clark (Build-a-Bear), Gil Mandelzis (Traiana), Larry Levy (Levy Restaurants), Jim Sinegal (Costco), John Osher (inventor of numerous successful toys) and many more.
Unfortunately there are no transferrable rules for identifying and implementing a successful business idea. Different entrepreneurs take many different approaches. What the author has identified as common between entrepreneurs who succeed for more than just a brief season is the unusual continuing ability to notice critical obstacles or opportunities when they arise and reinvent their businesses to take advantage.
The book also has quite a bit to say about family businesses and ways of managing successful generational transfers. The author has a background as a lawyer, business advisor and management educator, so he brings a well-informed perspective to his observations.