This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

Four Lessons from American History for Your Business

By Brian Hamilton, chairman of Sageworks

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Independence Day is a good time to remember that American history is full of valuable lessons for business owners. Whether you're ready to set out and start your own business or trying to make your current enterprise grow, consider these four pointers from history:

1. Don't expect favors.

We know Benjamin Franklin as a member of the Continental Congress, a minister to France, and one of the most influential political figures in American history. But it's important to remember that, at one point, he was a 17-year-old runaway looking to start a new life in Philadelphia.

Franklin, the quintessential "self-made" man, built a life for himself from nothing. The idea of the "self-made man/woman," can be a powerful lesson in starting and growing your business.

In this day and age, it's commonplace to be another guy with a great idea. What separates you from the rest is your ability to take chances and pull yourself up by your bootstraps, without expecting an outside boost. The first step in starting a great company is determining how you can create a great product or service and a great plan with what you have. You can build from there. Start small and dream big.

2. It's OK to be wrong.

At the Constitutional Convention in 1787, Hamilton and Jefferson had deeply divergent views regarding the role of the federal government and the future of the American political system. In the end, they both compromised, coming together to find solutions for the greater good.

In order to run a successful business (and a successful life, for that matter), we all must waver on certain issues. Remember that you always won't agree with your co-workers. But hopefully, if you've found your business soul mate and surrounded yourself with A-players, your colleagues will also have the company's best interests in mind. As hard as it may seem, be willing to part with your idea if it isn't as strong as someone else's.

3. Know when to retreat.

Colonel Custer and his troops, facing inevitable defeat, refused to surrender in the battle of Little Big Horn in 1876. Their perseverance and brave attitude in the face of defeat was admirable, but at times, there's something to be said about recognizing one's own limitations. Sometimes, we need to know when to retreat.

1 of 2

Select the service that is right for you!

Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!


DOW 18,053.71 +23.50 0.13%
S&P 500 2,088.77 +6.89 0.33%
NASDAQ 4,806.8590 +33.3870 0.70%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs