Why I Started a Business


For a number of years, I’ve worked in businesses that I’ve helped start. And I have no doubt that in my early days of entrepreneurship, my parents would probably have said the same thing Ted Turner said about his son, “My son is now an ‘entrepreneur.’ That’s what you’re called when you don’t have a job.”

There are exciting things about entrepreneurship, and there are scary things about it. But ultimately, I became an entrepreneur because I believe like John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods, that “the best way to solve the world’s most pressing problems is to start a company.”

Fortunately, that’s the work we get to do every day at ADDO, so I want to talk about three problems our company is solving that I believe other companies can solve as well.

1. Education

As a business, we get to sell products and services that meet needs, and one area of focus for us is education. Unfortunately in education, people are often forced to choose between something that is effective and something that is affordable. I think for too long those terms have been mutually exclusive, so that’s why we’re creating high quality products and making them accessible to schools. It’s why we created an elementary school program called The Voyage. It’s why we partner with Chick-fil-A to promote high school leadership. We’re trying to change education because education, in many ways, is the great equalizer. 

2. Empowerment

Another way we’re changing the world is through empowerment, and we believe one of the most effective ways to empower people is through job creation. It’s not just the customers you serve and the content you create, but it’s providing opportunities for individuals to support themselves and their families. It’s giving people a chance to do a job that has purpose. I think there are many selfish people working to change the world because they only create ways for themselves to make a difference. It’s important to invite people to join you on the journey, so more people get to play a part in changing lives, and in doing so, they provide for themselves and their families. And as an added bonus, because you put people around you and empower them, your reach is much greater.

3. Equality

At ADDO, we want to use the programs we create to level the playing-field. We want to give all students opportunities and skills, so they can explore things that may not have previously been available to them. It’s why we believe helping businesses engage and train people early in their careers is critical, because one job could be the difference between someone who spends their career stuck on the lower end of the socio-economic spectrum and someone with the skills necessary to catapult them to a whole new level. Ability is spread equally across society, but opportunity is not. We want to play a pivotal role in providing opportunities for people, and we’re doing this through education and empowerment. By educating people and empowering them, we’re working toward creating equal opportunity for all.

I know a lot of people who are passionate about making a difference, but too few of them see business as a mechanism to do that. Business is not just a way to change the world—I believe it’s the best and most effective way to change the world.

If you’re in the business world right now and think you need to quit and join a nonprofit to change the world, you need to think again. You can make a difference in your company. If you have an idea, a burden, or a vision to start something new, what’s holding you back?

Get to work. Start your business. And invite people to join you on your journey to change the world.

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Today, business means more than just mere products and services. Your organization needs to stand for something. Branding is what you tell the world; leadership is how you make it come true.

No one knows this dynamic better than Kevin Paul Scott.

Companies turn to Kevin for advice on how to up the meaning-quotient in their businesses, so that employees and customers alike champion the business as if it were their own.

Let Kevin come and teach your group about how to build a business and communicate corporate values in a way that resonates with consumers.

His speeches include:
• Building a Business with Meaning
• Leading When the Majority is Wrong
• In Changing Times, Hold to Unchanging Principles
• The War for Talent: Recruiting and Retaining Top Tier Talent
• Essential Exchanges: What You Have to Give Up to Go Up