The ability to take an idea and turn it into a company is a large part of what makes small businesses succeed. But initial success is just the first hurdle. As a small business owner, it is important to seek out and embrace the changes required to provide the best possible products and services to your customers. To stay ahead you need to think ahead, and you need to build and lead a team that is up to the challenge. 99U provides resources that can help you do just that.

The site takes its name from Thomas Edison’s famous quote that “Genius is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration,” and aims to be the university of that 99 percent. It is sponsored by Behance, which is an online platform for artists’ work to be showcased and purchased. The stated purpose of 99U is to “focus on what happens after inspiration — researching the forces that truly push ideas to fruition” providing resources that help you move “beyond idea generation into idea execution.”

The content is compiled from contributions by some of the business world’s best creative thinkers. Resources include an articles library, a tips center, and a video library. Each center classifies content into one or more of 31 categories that range from leadership to risk taking to failure.

While not specifically geared towards small business, many of the resources address common small business problems and priorities. For example, be sure to:

  • Watch the video of Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian’s talk, Give a Damn. Give Lots of Damns.Based on his experience with start-ups, he talks about cultivating customers as business champions, particularly in a business’ early stages, as the most effective way to learn and grow.
  • Read The Top 5 Qualities of Productive Creatives (And How to Identify Them). A recent IBM survey of 1500 CEOs found that they thought creativity was “the most important leadership competency for the successful enterprise of the future.” Based on that finding, this tip provides 5 key qualities to look for when hiring and specific examples of how to determine whether candidates possess them.
  • Read Evolving Workplace Productivity: 5 Workstyle Tips from Startups. This article summarizes 5 key takeaways from a conference on workplace evolution attended by leaders of start-ups and small businesses.
  • Read Strategy is More Short-Term Than You Think. This tip provides advice on how to implement a new strategy by overcoming objections to small pieces of it that do not conform to current business practices.

These are just the tip of the 99U iceberg. As you explore more, you are sure to find many nuggets that can help you turn your ideas into successes.

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Lisa Hephner

Lisa Hephner

My name is Lisa, and I'm the Vice President of Knowledge, responsible for the management of corporate, product, competitor, marketplace, legal, and regulatory knowledge, and creation and dissemination of knowledge tools using these assets to PaySimple prospects, customers, employees, and partners.

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