We were thrilled and honored to have consummate entrepreneur and a close friend, Gary Whitehill, write the Foreword for Small Business, BIG Vision: Lessons on How to Dominate Your Market from Self-Made Entrepreneurs Who Did it Right. Gary exemplifies everything it means to be an entrepreneur, and he was the perfect person to kick off the book.
About Gary Whitehill
Gary is currently running his eighth company, Entrepreneur Week, which has quickly become the second largest entrepreneur week in the world. His first business was a candy company at the age of 12. He and three friends made homemade candy and also resold other vendors’ stock to three schools in their district. Since that first venture, Gary has been a part of founding teams in multiple sectors, including: consumer products, events, media, retail, and skincare.
Gary also heads up the Relentless Foundation and Whitehill International, each of which reflects his entrepreneurial drive and relentless energy. Thriving in challenging environments where he can uncover and leverage all the pieces that maximize business impact, Gary’s energy is devoted to helping entrepreneurs prove to themselves and to the world that they can achieve anything they want.
Gary believes stopping at nothing to achieve everything is a mindset very few in this world share. Those who do are the movement makers of the world. As the founder of three internationally expanding organizations, Gary’s entrepreneurial pedigree and relentless energy are demonstrated by his expertise in constructing complex and scalable entrepreneurial ecosystems, developing community engagement frameworks, and catapulting early-stage entrepreneurs. Gary serves on the Boards of AOL Small Business, Astia, the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, and Central Connecticut State University.
Small Business, BIG Vision Foreword by Gary Whitehill
As a close friend of both Adam and Matthew for many years, it was truly an honor when they asked me to write this foreword. It wasn’t so much because this is the first time that I have been formally published, but more importantly because of the compelling and exclusive content they’ve curated within these pages.
My hope is that this book equips you with the tools, framework and inspiration to change the world. It is written in a straightforward, succinct and practical format, which provides the flexibility you need as a business owner for immediate implementation toward some of your most pressing business challenges.
Even more impressive is the fact that this is the first ever book that takes a case-based approach to entrepreneurship written by, for, and with insights from some of the most successful entrepreneurs in the world. Read on and get ready for a journey that will change the way you do business right now – not tomorrow, in a month, or in a year – right now.
I have earned my entrepreneurial stripes over the preceding fifteen years, having started my first company at the age of twelve. I did so because my parents didn’t have enough money to buy me football cleats. Since then, I have founded, built, and scaled eight businesses, which have touched thousands upon thousands of people around the world, spanning from consumer products and retail, to digital media and print. I come from the school of hard knocks – nothing was ever given to me on a silver platter, and for that I feel extremely fortunate. One of my successes has been New York Entrepreneur Week (NYEW). Now the second largest entrepreneur week in the world, we are currently expanding into twenty-five cities under the ‘Entrepreneur Week’ brand. I built it in just two years, in the face of unimaginable and daunting odds – from the economic recovery to risking my entire life savings on an idea which my friends and family thought was unfathomable. So why did I do it? Because I was passionate, knowing my vision would make the world a better place as a result. What did I learn? There’s no free lunch. Who did I meet? Adam and Matthew Toren, two of the most knowledgeable, generous and humble entrepreneurs I have ever met throughout the course of my career.
They are friends first and businessmen second. The reason I feel that is important to mention is because they didn’t write this book to make money. I kid you not. They are not professional speakers, self promoters, or marketing gurus. Instead, they are two brothers who’ve taken a similar path as I and feel a responsibility to you – a passion for giving back to those who seek to build their own entrepreneurial legacy.
In terms of gentlemen who believe in entrepreneurship as the fundamental underpinning of economies around the world, you will not find three more dedicated entrepreneurs than Adam, Matthew, and me. All three of us are extremely passionate about educational reform and entrepreneurship-based curriculum in the schools around the country. Adam and Matthew previously wrote a children’s book, Kidpreneurs, which is becoming widely adopted and was personally praised by President Barack Obama. I have founded The Relentless Foundation, which works in tandem with Adam and Matthew and is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, seeking to integrate entrepreneurship into every K-12 classroom by the year 2030. I tell you the above not to self promote, but as an example of how much the authors of this book care about you. It might sound superfluous, as you’re simply reading words on a page. But guess what? If you don’t believe me, email us. I challenge you to do so.
I guarantee one of the three of us will personally respond to you and help in any way, shape, or form that we can. Why? Because all three of us feel fortunate to be where we are – being able to provide our lens on the world (alongside a few of our counterparts) to you in a concise, impactful, and important book.
What Adam and Matthew have detailed in this book creates possibility for you. It provides a platform of real world, cutting edge insight and knowledge that will guide you toward making intelligent decisions in your business. The world is your oyster; it’s just a matter of whether you make a pearl out of it or a few specks of dirt. Don’t make the mistake of thinking this book is the end-all be-all; instead, pull out your highlighter and sticky notes, and absorb every single nugget of advice that is provided throughout. With this book in hand, the possibilities for you and for your company are endless.
Small Business, BIG Vision provides a framework for you to unleash your driven and relentless passion to achieve unprecedented growth, both personally and professionally – no matter what stage of the entrepreneurial journey you’re in. From planning, to social responsibility, to marketing, this book runs the gambit in terms of critical business insights which very few have sought to explore in an in-depth and methodical approach.
This book will take you through the experiences of some of the best, brightest, and most renowned entrepreneurs in the world. Anything you’ve ever wondered about your entrepreneurial journey is covered, both through the insightful entrepreneurial profiles and the spot-on advice of the authors.
Being an entrepreneur is not, nor will it ever be, easy. Small Business, BIG Vision provides you with straightforward, practical advice and case studies to overcome your most pressing business challenges. What this book contains is not for the faint at heart. It is real advice from successful and well-known entrepreneurs who have done the impossible time and time again. They have defied the odds – as 95% of businesses fail within five years. That is the sad reality of most entrepreneurial journeys. Why? Because most business owners lack cross-vertical operating experience. Small Business, BIG Vision provides you with frameworks to accelerate your company’s success, whether you’re in the early stages of your vision or in full execution.
Over the course of my career, I have sat on boards of Fortune 100 companies, advised Presidents, and negotiated deals from seed investments through those involving millions of dollars. I know what patterns to look for in entrepreneurs who have the prospect for success. Small Business, BIG Vision provides the fundamental underpinning for your journey as you will learn from entrepreneurs of varying backgrounds and businesses. What they all have in common is most important: They’ve lived the struggles, catapulted themselves above the status quo, and breathed deep the sweet smell of success. Very simply, the entrepreneurs profiled in this book encompass the number-one ethos dictating entrepreneurial success – being willing to stop at nothing to achieve everything.
Take a second and think – do you really know what you want out of life? Do you have a framework of understanding for what you want both personally and professionally? Get clear about what you want by taking a few minutes now to stop and think. The reality of entrepreneurship is much different than the glorified tales you see on TV or in the news. In actuality, being an entrepreneur is going to be the hardest test of your life – mentally, physically, and emotionally. You can read just about any blog or research paper, and they will provide you with anecdotal evidence on the trials and tribulations of building a company. What they’re missing are the intangible struggles every successful entrepreneur has faced. Therefore, if your answer to the question of what you want is, “I don’t know,” or “I want to not work hard,” then put this book down, and go get a desk job. Go work a 9-5, and do what 99.9999% of others do in this country.
If you are not willing to drive hard, if you’re not willing to stand up and fight for your vision then don’t waste your time reading Small Business, BIG Vision. Luck is an accumulation of superior effort, and this book is no exception. Both Matthew and Adam have put their hearts and souls into this book, as they seek to provide you with exclusive insight into the must-have tips, tricks, and knowledge necessary for you to accomplish your dreams.
If you want to drive hard and seek to accomplish more in life, then this book is for you. Anything worth accomplishing never comes easily. As you will read countless times throughout Small Business, BIG Vision, there isn’t just one practical way to achieve your dreams. Instead, read this book through the lens of, “What can I implement that provides me with the driven, inspired, and relentless passion I need to crush it going forward?”
After reading this far, the question isn’t whether you want to do this. The question is: Are you ready to stop at nothing to achieve everything? Only you can answer that question.
If you are ready, Small Business, BIG Vision will be your best friend alongside you in your journey. In addition, I, as well as Adam and Matthew, are always here to support you, and so are all of the entrepreneurs who are profiled in this book. We care about you. Why? Because we know how tough being an entrepreneur is, especially in the face of mounting debt, and family and friends who don’t understand why in the world you’d take on what is seemingly an unthinkable risk tolerance. We’ve been there, each of us, many times over. Don’t make the same mistakes we did. Learn from us, ask us questions, and be ready for the ride of your life.
Do you know what the hardest part about being an entrepreneur is? Keeping your flame going. What do I mean? It means transcending boundaries, creating an ecosystem of acceleration that catapults your business, leveraging knowledge, resources, tools, and contacts, as well as maximizing impact. That is a lot, and it is overwhelming. But the good news is that Small Business, BIG Vision helps guide you through each of those daunting challenges.
Businesses come and they go. But the journey you have begun is one that exudes a passion, persistence, and willingness to defy the odds that virtually no one in this world does. That makes you unique, special, and a valuable asset to us a reader, but more importantly, as a maverick in the business community. Take Small Business, BIG Vision wherever you go, and absorb it. Have the confidence that you can do what you want in life. There is no rewind button. You only get one shot. So make it a good one – read this book, implement, execute, and send us an email.
We look forward to sharing the journey with you.
Founder, Entrepreneur Week & The Relentless Foundation