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Saturday, January 15, 2011

1,000 New Entrepreneurs in Madison County by 2012!!?

In architecture, there are several periods and styles of design.The breadth and depth of what we call architecture is a canvas of hits and misses from individuals who have spent their life creating structures based on defined design principles.There is a business to creating things that work, a proven methodology, a series of case studies, and/or a preferred path.

When something works we use it until something better comes along or until we can afford to change. There is this constant cycle of human existence that gives way to the birthing of visionaries and leaders, new ideas, and innovation as new ideas trump old ideas.

My continued effort and daily struggle, at times, is to build a world class architecture firm. My dream hangs in the balance with the bent economy. I have been redefining my business plan to the broader picture of becoming the largest owned minority design firm in the world (it is an ambitious 20 year goal with mile markers along the way).

Recently, I had a conversation with both of our community's Chamber of Commerce leaders, some gentlemen from S.C.O.R.E., and the President of the local chapter of the N.A.A.C.P. The thought came to me, "What if our number one objective for the next 12 to 16 months was to launch 1,000 new entrepreneurs right here in Madison County?" I am currently engrossed in a book called Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras. It is interesting to see their distinction between clock-makers and time-tellers. A time-teller tells time as long as they live, but a clockmaker tells time through the clock they build. We are in need of clock-makers: individuals who conceive ideas to build organizations that last beyond them.

It is one thing to aggressively pursue companies from around the world that have made a product or service that the world can't live without to plant themselves here. It is another thing entirely to be that company that the world can't live without. Visionaries build legacy. Architecture itself limits my ability to achieve my personal goals; however, design extends my personal goal in that it allows me to place my principles/ style of design to everything from furniture to architecture, from writing to speaking, from designing a toothbrush to designing a new fragrance.

What might happen if we were to concentrate our effort to creating 1,000 new entrepreneurs that could place their energy and effort on not just servicing a need but building a legacy? Clock-makers. How might people here be affected if just 1% of the 1,000 goes on to be a fortune 500 company based out of our community?

Jesse J Wilkerson is the principal for a local architecture firm, Jesse J Wilkerson & Associates LLC. He also hosts "Vision for Success" on 1240 AM WHBU and is a columnist for the Herald Bulletin in Anderson, In, USA. You may find his articles at under the Opinion section of the newspaper.

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