7 TED Talks to Inspire Growth for Connecticut Small Business Owners

Connecticut small businessConnecticut is a great state for small businesses. We have a well-educated workforce and a strong labor market. We are close to major cities such as New York and Boston, and Connecticut’s personal per capita income averages $20,000 higher than the national average.

One of the reasons Connecticut small business owners tend to thrive is the state’s entrepreneurial spirit and the fact that we have some of the most successful professionals in the country living in the Nutmeg State.

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I love learning from those who have been there, done that. There is nothing better than learning from someone who has gone before you.

Of course, there are lots of online sources for expert advice, but I tend to gravitate toward TED Talks for inspiration. There’s nothing like hearing directly from an expert who has answers to everyday problems you may not have considered. If you browse the TED Talks website, you will find the titles of thousands of inspirational talks, many of which have relevance to you as a Connecticut small business owner. Here are just seven informative TED Talks for CT small business owners:

1. Five Ways to Lead in an Era of Constant Change 

One thing that all Connecticut small business owners have in common is the need to lead. Jim Hemerling, and expert in organizational change, notes that change is constant, and highlights ways that organizational leaders can overcome their natural aversion to change. His recommendations include inspiring a deeper sense of purpose, finding initiatives to drive growth rather than cutting overhead, enabling transformation, and more. Hemerling’s presentation centers around putting people first and reorganizing by empowering and energizing your team.


2.  How to Build a Business That Lasts 1000 Years 

Did you know that one in three businesses are taken over or fail within the first five years? By looking at nature, strategist Martin Reeves offers six principles from living organisms that can be applied to business to promote resilience and survival in a world of constant change. This TED Talk should provide strategies that give a boost to your corporate immune system.


3. What I Learned from 100 Days of Rejection 

I am a firm believer that in order to succeed, you have to learn how to fail first. In this TED Talk, Jia Jiang discusses of the benefits of “rejection therapy.” Too many entrepreneurs won’t take a risk or try something new because of fear of failure. Or they can’t close a deal because they can’t understand how to overcome “no” or how to ask “why?” Jiang shares his experiences in learning from calculated failures, such as asking for a “burger refill” or requesting to be a Starbucks greeter. This Talk is entertaining and insightful.


4. The New American Dream 

Journalist Courtney Martin notes that, for the first time, American parents don’t think that their children will be better off than they are. As she says, “The biggest danger is not failing to achieve the American Dream. The biggest danger is achieving a dream that you don't actually believe in.” It’s time for Connecticut small businesses to rethink some of the factors that motivate their employees, and even their customers, and embrace a new approach to business that nurtures family and community.


5. The Workforce Crisis of 2030 – And How to Start Overcoming It Now 

As Baby Boomers continue to age, there will be a shortfall in the workforce. At the same time, labor demand is expected to continue to rise to maintain growing GDP. By 2030 there is expected to be a global labor shortage, especially for highly skilled workers. HR expert Rainer Strack says that to succeed, companies need workforce planning, and to attract, train, and retain great people, today’s companies need to rethink their business culture.


6. How to Save the World from Bad Meetings 

Collaboration is key to business success, but meetings don’t always promote collaboration. Bad meetings steal time and productivity from employees. Information security expert David Grady shares his thoughts on how to avoid wasted time by being more considerate of coworkers’ time, developing agendas, and considering, “is this meeting is really necessary?” This TED Talk is funny and short, so you won’t waste your time.


7. Five Ways to Listen Better 

The art of listening is disappearing. You only retain about 25 percent of what you hear. In addition, there are more distractions than ever which makes listening difficult, and as Julian Treasure explains, “listening is our access to understanding.” Small business owners need to be adept at listening to both their employees and their customers, and in this TED Talk, Treasure offers five tips to better listening.


These are just a few of the inspirational videos you can see on the TED Talks website. It’s amazing how many of them are relevant, either directly or indirectly, to Connecticut small business owners. Take a look and find your inspiration, and tell us what you’ve learned.

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About The Author

President of NSI, Tom has been helping small and medium businesses succeed in Connecticut for over 25 years.