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Two Truths of Entrepreneurship

In my four years at AIA, I have seen firsthand the strong entrepreneurial spirit that permeates the promotional products industry. I am consistently impressed and inspired by the way our Owners run their businesses. As I’ve worked with our Owner Community and engaged with others across this industry of creative business leaders, two key "truths of entrepreneurship” have emerged for me:

Successful entrepreneurs own their journey. They know their purpose, and they're clear about who they are and what they want to achieve. It’s about more than growing their business and generating profits - our incredible community of entrepreneurs, marketers, sales pros, and strategists put a strong focus on solving problems for their customers and communities. They set a clear vision, then support it with a solid business plan and aim to sell solutions – not just products. They are open to new ideas, take thoughtful risks, and are quick to seize business opportunities. They never hesitate to roll up their sleeves and tackle a thorny business issue, and are independent thinkers who challenge the status quo in order to keep their companies relevant in an ever-changing business climate.

Successful entrepreneurs believe in the power of community. Even with a clear purpose and strong business acumen, the best entrepreneurs don’t go it alone. We all need others on our journey – to teach, inspire, support, and challenge us. The diversity of our Owner Community makes all of us stronger together. I like to think of our Owner Community as an orchestra creating harmony. Harmony is defined as “the pleasing arrangement of different tones, voices, or instruments,” and that's especially true about the unique contributions of every member of our AIA Community. Adam Grant said “creative tension makes beautiful music,” and I’ve witnessed that sweet sound when our Owners engage in our shared community. Successful entrepreneurs surround themselves with people who inspire them, challenge them, and help them meet their goals.

During the past month, at the ASI Show and PPAI Expo, I have seen the power of community in full force. There is so much energy in this industry, so much collaboration, and so much potential to grow as part of a community. This industry was made for people who possess an entrepreneurial spirit and drive to succeed.

At AIA, our goal is to make entrepreneurs in the promotional products industry as successful as they can be. That’s what we do! Our purpose is firmly fixed on Owner Success, and we deliver relevant tools and counsel to pave a pathway for our Owners' businesses to flourish in a truly energizing industry.