By Jeff Glass, Copywriter, Author, Social Entrepreneur
“Great companies that build an enduring brand have an emotional relationship with customers that has no barrier. And that emotional relationship is on the most important characteristic, which is trust.”
— Howard Schultz, Entrepreneur
I am an avid student of history and entrepreneurship. These subjects were not my major, but rather a framework of thinking, a lens through which I view my world that I adopted shortly after college. I am intrigued, obsessed really, with the origins of successful companies, and how they can impact a market. Some create a wake in a sea of business ideas, while others generate a tsunami year after year.
Early settlers who came to America risked their lives crossing the Atlantic with dreams of pioneering a new land and forging prosperous lives. This critical time in American history illustrates the heart and determination of the entrepreneurial spirit possessed by those who would bring ideas from other countries with such grit. This concept of bringing ideas from a foreign land to create opportunity and prosperity would become a cornerstone of western civilization. Some of the greatest pioneers are still amongst us today.
As America prospered, so did the entrepreneurial spirit, and it continues to thrive in the hearts of today’s great business visionaries.
As I am sitting in a Starbucks coffee shop, waiting to meet with an aspiring entrepreneur, drinking my usual mix of espresso, I take inventory of how this massively franchised company conducts business by googling the story of how it was built. This is not just a company that succeeds in selling coffee; they created a culture that influences millions of people to buy their products every single day. Approximately 60 million people visit Starbucks each week, making it not only one of the largest brands in the United States, but globally.
Our perspective is limited if we think people simply just purchase products and services. They invest in brands that match their beliefs and values as consumers. Coffee drinkers can make a great cup of coffee at home for less than a dollar, but will consistently spend up to five dollars on a cup from Starbucks. Why?
Howard Schultz, long-time CEO of Starbucks, was not one of the founders, but rather the visionary who pioneered a simple product of a coffeehouse, widely a European tradition at the time, into an elegant American addiction. He, like many great entrepreneurs in history from Ray Kroc to Steve Jobs, discovered there was something more addictive than caffeine, the consumption of burgers and drinks, or Apple products. In business, there is nothing more addictive than the consumer culture. When people purchase that $5 latte or that overpriced iPad, they are purchasing a status symbol, an experience, and a convenience to which they identify.
Good companies can sell a product or service. Great companies establish a brand that creates a culture of customers who adopt the vision, and who sell the product or service, through a series of behaviors, for the company. The consumers become followers of the company. And, the followers become influencers to create more consumers.
Schultz understood the importance of creating an internal culture as well; he built up and trained, passionate baristas that drafted coffee drinkers, and other baristas, all over the world into the Starbucks nation. What was once a little coffee shop back in 1971, founded by three school friends became the catalyst of one of the greatest American traditions and largest franchised companies in history.
As a writer, consultant and instructor on entrepreneurship, I meet all types of innovative and energetic people ready to take on the world and bring their idea to market to make a profit. Recently, I am focusing on a more specialized type of entrepreneur. I am interested in the stories of those looking to influence culture and leave a positive imprint on the world. I believe that truly great ideas are worth more than the bottom feeding goal of solely creating profit. Entrepreneurship is the machine that pushes a great idea forward, driven by not just how much money, but how much of a difference it can make in the lives of others. The leaders that dare to do something great are the best drivers of this machine.
A few years ago, I met the founder and visionary of Moss Ball Pets, another company breaking into the American culture. My starting point with any entrepreneur is to unpack their purpose; I want to know what started them on their path.
Josh Buscay has casted a vision to bring a historic product from another country and infuse it into the American culture. Considered a national treasure in Japan, Marimo Moss Balls, often referred to as the “Love Plants,” are incredible gifts that bring luck, happiness, and a spirit of longevity. Unlike flowers, and other plants, Marimo Moss Balls are known to live up to 200 years. They require little maintenance, yet pack an incredible amount of return on investment. What else can one give to another person as a gift that will outlive generations?
Our American culture is in need of restoration from all levels. Entrepreneurs contribute significantly to the consistent shaping of our country. The intrinsic value of Moss Balls Pets brings an awareness to Americans about the importance of history and maintaining traditions. In Japan, in the 1940’s the Marimo Moss Balls were endangered. A community of people rallied behind the preservation of this small plant igniting the Marimo Festival that still takes place today.
Moss Ball Pets brings something new and beautiful to the lives of American consumers: gifts of happiness to share with others, good fortune, and a culture of love and legacy with our families.
When we adopt a Moss Ball Pet, we are not only part of the group pioneering a Japanese tradition into our country, we are truly celebrating life.
My son and I are celebrating the recent adoption of our first pet, Max. At the age of 3, Jesse is learning responsibility while experiencing a great sense of joy with his new pet. It is incredible to think, as I step back and watch him hold his terrarium, that this little, living ball will be passed down to several generations of our family.
To find out more about this growing business and how to adopt your Moss Ball Pet, please visit www.MossBallPets.com.