Like you, I am an entrepreneur and a small business owner. My company provides outsourced business development services primarily to small entrepreneurial firms. As we tell our clients, we are an integral part of their business management team but we are focused on those aspects that drive growth: marketing, sales, customer service and referring partners. While I am deeply experienced with unique hands-on knowledge of growing a business, I'm not getting better if my knowledge remains static. What I've learned in over thirty years of small business experience is that adapting to change is the only way to create long term success. And adapting to change requires continuous education. Change is constant, sometimes anticipated but frequently unexpected. A big part of what I do to better serve my clients involves daily education. Sorting through all the available information leaves me feeling confused, overwhelmed and frustrated. While there are plenty of resources through which I and other business owners can get better at what we do, much of what's out there falls into the category of regurgitated and plagiarized junk. What I found is that the best sources of inspiration and knowledge are real life stories, case studies, and the experience of trying, failing and eventually succeeding. That's not found in the "wisdom" of wannabe gurus who claim ownership of some magical formula that's guaranteed to work. It does not exist. In my world, nothing replaces focus and hard work. Work smart and work hard. Are you sure about that? The other factors I've found that contribute to long term success (other than the ability to adapt to change) are humility and the continual questioning of everything you read and everything you do. Humility allows you to recognize that you don't know it all. Questioning allows you to take nothing for granted, so you strive for continuous improvement. I am a firm believer in the Japanese Kaizen theory: you'll never be great at anything, you just keep getting better all the time. When you think you know something, ask yourself if you're sure. Keep asking. You'll keep getting better. So this collection of years of real life experiences is what I offer. These small business stories are the "real deal" with subject matter that pokes and questions and provides insight on every page. You will find relevant stories on topics that have influenced outcomes and led to success for some small business owners. Some of my case studies and observations will likely make you smile. Some might get you angry. I'm not promising that you'll uncover secrets or "tips that will crush the competition." I leave that to those "other" authors. My stories are meant to inspire you, beginning with the recognition that you're not alone, that we have a lot in common, and that at the end of each day we want to feel good about our business and ourselves as caring and generous human beings. We want to make enough money to be comfortable but only if we make a difference in the lives of our customers and our employees. This book is an ideal source of inspiration and practical advice for small business owners, entrepreneurs, family-owned multi-generational businesses as well as executives and managers with responsibilities in management, marketing, sales and customer service.