Just as it seems that all the media can offer are pronouncements of doom and gloom for the world in general, and business in particular, Ken McElroy provides the work force with a truly inspiring voice of optimism in his fourth book, The Sleeping Giant. McElroy’s, contributors, twenty self-employed entrepreneurs, are well-springs of knowledge, advice, and entrepreneurial inspiration.
The “Giant” of the title refers to the burgeoning number of unemployed who are awakening to their own great possibilities and talents, and not only discovering niche markets for themselves, but in the process, creating new jobs for others. “This awakening is long overdue and is happening out of necessity,” McElroy asserts. “It doesn’t matter how old or young you are. You can thrive while others cling to an old and dying system,” he says. “The world is entering into a very exciting time.” We agree. The Sleeping Giant is an excellent guidebook for those looking for a new place in the work force or thinking of making long overdue life changes.
Let’s meet the twenty entrepreneurs of The Sleeping Giant:
|Chapter One - It’s Not About The Money|
|Rommel T. Juan/Binalot Foods
Rommel Juan is Co-Founder and President of Binalot Fiesta Foods, Inc., a major franchise with forty-two food outlets in metropolitan Manila. Binalot proudly serves its clientele their favorite Filipino food the traditional way—wrapped in banana leaves. Under its Corporate Social Responsibility Program, the company has helped the farming community by getting banana leaves direct from the farmers to eliminate the middlemen, and teaching the village women to cut and pack the leaves, which provides jobs. Rommel has been featured in multiple magazines and newspapers including Entrepreneur Magazine and The Manila Times, and has made appearances on ABC and CNN. He is a sought-after entrepreneur, speaker, and advisor.
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|Chapter Two - Big Margins Can Mean Big Business|
|Paul Lepa / PearlsOnline.com
A marketer at heart, Paul Lepa managed to overcome the challenges of linear thinking from his electrical engineering background to blend technology, sales, and marketing into one. Paul is the CEO and Co-Founder of PearlsOnly.com, an e-commerce company with nearly 100,000 customers in the U.S. and the UK and over $10 million in sales to date. Before founding PearlsOnly.com, Paul held a number of different positions, including Senior Account Executive at Telvant in Calgary, Canada, and Director of Global Pipeline Solution Unit at ABB in Manheim, Germany. After relocating to China, Paul decided to take the leap to start PearlsOnly.com.
|Chapter Three - Reaching for the Stars|
|Barry Hamilton / Red Canyon Engineering and Software
Barry Hamilton is founder and CEO of Red Canyon Software, an aerospace technology company focusing on satellite flight and ground software. He is also CEO of BareRose Real Estate, which owns and develops over $20 million of both commercial and residential real estate in Colorado. Barry serves on the advisory board for the Leadership Program of the Rockies, is the small donor committee chair for Colorado Aerospace, and volunteers at the When I Grow Up Foundation, WB2 Mile High Skies College in Colorado, and Monticello Club.
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|Chapter Four - Pay Attention to the Demographics|
|Amir Tehrani / Conrad Asher Licensing Group
Amir Tehrani spent several years in management consulting for Deloitte Consulting and working with senior executives in Fortune 100 companies in a variety of industries. He then funded and became president of a company that acquired the exclusive U.S. distribution rights to several top Hispanic brands, including the Federation of Mexican Futbol. Amir currently holds board positions with Tabletops Unlimited, Allied Imex, Conrad Asher Group, and cPrime Inc.
|Chapter Five - A Twenty-Year Overnight Success Story|
|Neil Balter / California Closets
Neil Balter was seventeen years old when he started the California Closet Company, an idea that came to him after his parents kicked him out of the house. He combined his carpentry skills and entrepreneurial spirit, and worked out of a van. He grossed almost $60,000 his first year and sold the company to Williams-Sonoma, Inc. before he turned thirty. Neil is a founding member of the Young Entrepreneurs’ Organization and a speaker on a variety of topics, including “What It Takes to be a Millionaire Before 30.” He was recognized in Entrepreneur Magazine with an Outstanding Entrepreneur Achievement Award and featured in The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, People, and on “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” as well as in 500 other newspapers, magazines, and TV shows.
|Chapter Six - Choose Your Partners Well|
|Carol Frank / Avian Adventures
Carol Frank is a principal of BirdsEye Consulting, helping pet companies launch new products and better utilize their resources. She is CEO of WholeLifePets.com, an e-commerce site specializing in natural pet products, and a managing director of SDR Ventures, an investment-banking firm. Carol is author of the highly acclaimed book, Do As I Say, Not As I Did! Gaining Wisdom in Business through the Mistakes of Highly Successful People. She’s made appearances on “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” MSNBC, “Good Morning, Texas,” and NBC News and has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Entrepreneur, and USA Today.
|Chapter Seven - Follow the Cash|
|Richard Levychin / KBL, LLP
Richard Levychin is CEO and Managing Partner of KBL, LLP, a 100-man CPA and Advisory firm with offices in New York and New Jersey. Richard has over twenty-five years of accounting, auditing, business advisory services, and tax experience working with both privately owned and public entities in a variety of industries. Richard is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants, National Association of Tax Professionals, National Association of Black Accountants, and Association of Latin Professionals in Finance and Accounting. He’s been featured in a variety of business periodicals and conducts seminars on a wide range of business topics, including SEC matters and taxation.
|Chapter Eight - The Answers Are in the Library|
|Jeffrey Benjamin / Breakthrough Training
For the last twenty years, Jeffrey Benjamin’s focus has been sharing career and personal achievement strategies with individuals, youth groups, small business entrepreneurs, and Fortune 500 companies. He is the author of eight personal development books, including the book series Real Life Habits for Success, and has been featured on over 300 television and radio shows. Jeffrey is a speaker who has delivered more than 1,000 presentations in Asia, Europe, Latin America, North America, South America, and the Middle East. His Breakthrough Training™ produces positive results for more than 150 groups every year.
|Chapter Nine - Do the Right Thing|
|Cindy Smartt / Smartt Entertainment, Inc.
Cindy Smartt, founder of Smartt Entertainment, has become nationally and internationally recognized as a top producer of corporate events. She’s booked and produced corporate entertainment for leading corporations such as PGA of America, Allergan, Oracle, Lucent Technologies, Chevron, American Airlines, and Verizon, and produced more than 300 shows including Andrea Bocelli in Rome, Keith Urban in Sydney, Bon Jovi, Carrie Underwood, Jay Leno, Bill Cosby, Diana Ross, and Journey. Cindy received international recognition for development of her exclusive corporate programs featuring the stars and cast of Dancing with the Stars, So You Think You Can Dance, and Top Chef.
|Chapter Ten - You’re Fired! Now What?|
|Matt Shoup / M&E Painting
In 2004, Matt Shoup founded M&E Painting, LLC with only $100 in the bank. M&E Painting is now a profitable multi-million dollar company and Northern Colorado’s largest painting contractor. Sharing experiences with other entrepreneurs is a passion for Matt. He created Shoup Consulting to help entrepreneurs implement effective strategies and systems to grow their companies. Matt also teaches Spanish at a local elementary school and created the Matthew P. Shoup Study Spain Abroad Scholarship at Colorado State University.
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|Chapter Eleven - Rejection as Part of Success|
|Dan Lauer / Water Babies
Dan Lauer is the creator and licensor of Water Babies, the second-longest and second-bestselling baby doll on the market. His experience of moving from undiscovered inventor to the creator of Water Babies as a top-selling classic is chronicled in Forbes, Inc. Magazine, Fortune Small Business, People, Entrepreneur, Commerce, The Washington Post, and The New York Times. In addition, he’s been featured on CBS “Morning,” CNN-fn, and CBS’s “How’d They Do That?” Dan has led several start-up companies and not-for-profits, and is a licensing agent, keynote speaker, and consultant to the consumer products industry.
|Chapter Twelve - From Classroom to Boardroom|
|Adrian Li / Idapted Ltd.
Adrian Li is co-founder of Idapted, the largest provider of live on-demand, one-on-one language instruction. Prior to starting Idapted, Adrian worked for Pepsi in project management in Shanghai, JPMorgan in London advising on acquisition and growth strategy for financial institutions, and Globalegacy, a social enterprise incubator advising entrepreneurs who are starting for-profit social ventures. With a passion for education, Adrian founded a UK-based charity, CNYTrust, that raises money to support children’s education in rural China, provides scholarships, and has built a primary school in the village of Da Miao, China.
|Chapter Thirteen - Mentor Your Way to Success|
|Eileen Spitalny / Fairytale Brownies
Eileen Spitalny, along with childhood friend and business partner David Kravetz, turned a dream of entrepreneurship into Fairytale Brownies, a gourmet mail-order company that ships more than 2.5 million brownies a year. The company now has annual sales of more than $9.3 million and has been featured in Edible Phoenix and Life & Style Weekly. Eileen is involved in Entrepreneurs’ Organization, Arts & Business Council, and Arizona Women in Food & Wine. She was named the USC Alumni Entrepreneur of the Year in 2002 and Arizona’s Small Businessperson of the Year in 2006. Eileen is also featured in the cookbook Cooking with Les Dames d’Escoffier: At Home with the Women Who Shape the Way We Eat and Drink.
|Chapter Fourteen - Your Business is Right in Front of You|
|Darik Volpa / Understand.com
Darik Volpa is Founder and CEO of Understand.com, an Inc. 5000 company and global provider of health-care content that helps patients better understand conditions, procedures, and diseases. In 2006, Understand.com was awarded “Best of Show” at the Silver & Gold Venture Capital Conference. Darik gained much of his experience at Stryker Corporation, a $7 billion medical device company, where he managed more than $50 million in products and was responsible for the development and launch of over 50 medical devices. He was named the 2007 Innovator of the Year by The Business Report of Northern Nevada, and in 2009, received the Reno Gazette Journal’s “20 Under 40” award and was named a “20/20 Business Visionary” by Nevada Business Magazine.
|Chapter Fifteen - If At First You Don’t Succeed…|
|Shawn Thomas / Uniguest
After starting out in the music industry, Shawn Thomas decided that would not be a lifelong career and he wanted to get out of it. A string of sales jobs and a failed business followed, providing tough lessons along the way. Shawn is now CEO of Uniguest, a multi-million dollar company with over 2,500 customers, 4,000 self-serve kiosks, and 70 employees. Uniguest provides print, technology, and specialized services internationally for hospitality, health-care, and other industries. As for Shawn, he looks forward to challenges, new-found successes, and most of all, continuing to learn from his mistakes.
|Chapter Sixteen - Carpe Diem—Seize the Day|
|Dan Caulfield / Hire Quality, Inc
Dan is a senior executive and has helped six companies navigate hyper-growth and the angel/venture funding process. Dan has helped the companies he has served raise a total of $30 million. In most cases, Dan has taken a key executive role leading up to the VC investment. Most recently, Dan was the CEO of TweetPhoto.com, a photo -sharing service that is globally ranked in the top 300 Websites by Alexa.com. Prior to joining TweetPhoto, Dan was a board member and Chief Operating Officer at Mojopages.com, board member and Acting Chief Marketing Officer at Dayak.com, Senior Manager at Cap Gemini Ernst & Young, President of MilitaryHub.com, and the Founder & President of Hire Quality, Inc.
Dan is also the Founder and Chairman of the Board of the Armed Forces Support Foundation, which operates HireaHero.org. Dan also co-founded another not-for-profit called Helmets to Hardhats. HAH and H2H are nationally recognized as the models for public-private military transition programs. Dan is a United States Marine Corps veteran
|Chapter Seventeen - Being Homeless is a Good Motivator|
|Blake Canedy / Core Legal Translations
Blake Canedy is founder and president of Core Legal Translations, a language company providing expert professional translation and interpretation services for the legal industry. Previously, Blake started and ran several businesses including a window washing service, a cell phone sales company, and a court reporting firm. He has a lifetime interest in martial arts and holds an advanced black belt in traditional karate. He enjoys blacksmithing, scuba diving, and hiking, and holds a master’s degree in spiritual psychology.
|Chapter Eighteen - Uncertainty Can Be Empowering|
|Jonathan Davis / Hire Better (HireBetter.com)
Jonathan Davis is Co-Founder and CEO of Hire Better and has spent the last decade helping build companies from scratch. After five years as a principal of a staff-leasing and HR-outsourcing firm, Jonathan started working on the one area in which he saw the biggest lack of viable solutions for growing companies: talent acquisition. Today, he is responsible for the strategic leadership of Hire Better Solutions as it continues to revolutionize the world of recruiting by focusing on metrics and innovation. Jonathan is a member of the Young Entrepreneurs’ Organization, is the Austin Champion for the EO Accelerator Program, and sits on the EO Global Committee for Emerging Programs.
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|Chapter Nineteen - Smaller Sales Cycles Equal Better Profits|
|Troy Hazard / Speaker, Author, and Entrepreneur
Troy Hazard founded and nurtured ten businesses over two decades and experienced the gamut from massive financial loss to stunning success. He is a business consultant, international speaker, author of The Naked Entrepreneur, and past Global President of Entrepreneurs’ Organization. He’s a regular guest business commentator on Fox Business, the Biz Radio Network, and the Business Talk Radio Network, and he hosts the successful national network television shows “Inside Franchising” and “Don’t Come Monday.” Troy’s “Lessons from the Edge” provide businesses with potent tools tested in real-world situations, not learned in business school.
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|Chapter Twenty - Remember What You Work For|
|James Small / Parker Finch Management
James Small is a successful business owner, real estate investor, entrepreneur, consultant, and philanthropist. Prior to launching his own consulting practice, James built the nation’s first franchise in the field of community association management. He leveraged the principles of business systems and private equity to rapidly grow a business from his spare bedroom into one of the best-known brands in a $12 billion industry in just three years. James has been awarded the distinguished Thirty-Five Under 35 honor given to up-and-coming executives in Arizona and the Forty Under 40 award for being one of his state’s top leaders in business and community service. He is also the founder of a 501 (c)(3) charity called Prevent Autism Today.
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