Learning from Uli and other success stories

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 36 views 


Editor’s note: Michelle Stockman works with Little Rock-based Arkansas Capital Corp. to promote entrepreneurship development around the state. Stockman earned a bachelor’s degree from Loyola University-Chicago in communications and fine arts, and earned a master’s in entrepreneurship from Western Carolina University. Her thoughts on business success appear each week on The City Wire.

There it was, the shiny freshly printed magazine. While some get excited for a certain Sports Illustrated annual, this entrepreneur gets excited for the annual Inc. 500 edition. In place of sandy beaches are pie charts and graphs illustrating statistical facts of the world’s top 500 entrepreneurial businesses.

These are the top 500 companies helping the U.S. (and global partners) grow our way out of the recession as well as creating tomorrow’s top technology break-throughs. Unlike a Cosmo top ten list, Inc. Magazine offers a great snap shot of our economy through this annual list.

What we learn includes the top states in which Inc. 500 companies reside in (Massachusetts, Ohio, Georgia, Illinois, etc. No, Arkansas was not on that list). The industries that these businesses are growing in include Advertising & Marketing, computer hardware, consumer products and more. The Inc. 500 tells about the top women entrepreneurs, private companies and companies to work for within the overall 500 list.

What is not so obvious in reading this annual insight into the global economy is looking at what the stories of each highlighted business tells the world. Through the stories this magazine brings to readers each year is insights into what makes these business successful. As a business owner, reading the stories provides lessons on how the 500 survived hard times, what helped them breakthrough in their markets and how they’ve attracted the right people to employ.

There are too few places for entrepreneurs to find inspiration, especially in this 3-year old recession. However, the more entrepreneurs who share their story of starting and growing can be a powerful picture not only for other entrepreneurs, but for communities to take note. Two great entrepreneur stories include that of Hershey and Mars in the book Emperor’s of Chocolate. The other is of a man by the name of Uli. Uli landed in the farm fields of eastern North Carolina from Brazil to Germany to England to Manteo, N.C.

Uli came to the states to manage a few cotton farms, when his brother sent him micro brew equipment from Germany. Not knowing what else to do, he decided to open a micro brew. However, micro brews were not allowed under North Carolina law, so he went to Raleigh and had the law changed. After running the Weeping Radish in Manteo for 20+ years, Uli had a vision to open a new farmer’s market that featured organically grown produce where the farmers were able to track their stock at the market through an online point-of-sale inventory tracking program.

Through the innovations of this man, other business owners have been able to feel inspired to move forward when life seems to throw hurdles along the path. As a business owner, search for your own business lessons through those who have or are walking the same path around you. Ask them how they got started? What are some of their successes? What are some of their needs? And listen to their answers.

Stockman can be reached at
[email protected]