The Entrepreneur’s Hidden Value (That’s Often Overlooked)

I was in church listening to a sermon when I realized why entrepreneurs are so important to our society. They see the same problems we see, but they do something about it.

They start. Others don’t.

The pastor was delivering his 2020 vision on the last Sunday of 2019. He used as his illustration a children’s book called Stone Soup. He asked who in the audience knew the book. 

Kathy’s hand went up with everyone else’s, and I was outed, once again, as the father who rarely read to his kids.

As he retold the story, I was thinking, “The guy who had the idea of stone soup is the perfect example of an entrepreneur.”

Here’s the story.

This village is starving. There isn’t enough food for each family to survive. A fellow in the community goes to the center of town where he gathers three stones and puts them at the bottom of a cauldron. He adds water and lights a fire under it. 

The people in the village become curious. They are drawn to what he is doing and ask, “What are you cooking?” 

He answers, “I am making stone soup.” 

“Stone soup? That doesn’t sound very appetizing or nutritious. Wouldn’t it be better if the soup had some carrots?” 

“Yes. It would be much better,” he answers.

One village resident says, “I have some carrots. I’ll go home and get them and put them in the soup.” 

This happens again and again. Eventually, the stone soup becomes the most robust and nutritious meal anyone in the village could have imagined. It feeds the entire village.

Entrepreneurs are stone soup makers.

They address the problem everyone is talking about.

They design a solution to solve the problem.

They make it public. And take the criticism.

They welcome ideas from others and create an even better solution.

Eventually, everybody wants the solution. 

Problem solved. 

When entrepreneurs follow these simple steps, one of three things happens.

  1. The solution fails because people didn’t care.
  2. A company is created.
  3. A whole new industry is created.

I just had to share this with you. Maybe I should read more children’s books. I have a second chance now that I have grandchildren.