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7 of the Best TED Talks for Small Business

One of the hardest things about running a business is finding the resources you need – be it human resources, financial resources, or educational resources. There's no question you know your product, service or industry but what do you know about running a business or social media, or marketing, or sales? And how has it changed since you last learned it all?

Finding good quality (inexpensive) learning resources to keep you at the top of your industry can mean the difference between success and struggle. A chamber membership is a great investment for your professional and business development as is some time spent absorbing the innovative ideas of others. TED talks are an amazing opportunity to learn (on your schedule) from a few of the brightest minds in our world. Best of all, the talks are free.

Here is a list of some of the best TED talks for small business owners:

Got a Wicked Problem? First Let Me Tell You How to Make Toast

This 10-minute video from Tom Wujec presents a basic activity with interesting insights into business teams and processes, asking people to visually represent how they make toast. He discusses how different teams approach the activity from their own center – people, process or technology. The video provides some nice insight into people’s thinking and what they consider to be the most important part of the toast-making process.

How Great Leaders Inspire Action

If you’ve never watched this powerful 20-minute video by Simon Sinek, turn off your email, let your calls go to voicemail, and watch. Now. In it he talks about how people don’t buy your product, they buy the “why” behind what you do. Do you know your why? You’ll be thinking about it after watching this.

How to Make a Splash in Social Media

If you don’t have a lot of time, here’s a 4-minute gem from Alexis Ohanian (Reddit) on becoming a hit in social media. Even though it’s from 2009, it’s still a funny story.

What Makes Us Feel Good About Our Work?

The 20-minute talk from Dan Ariely provides good insight into what satisfies us, and it’s not money. Knowing the secret to inspiring work is something most small business owners understand but if you need an encouraging boost, check this out.

3 Ways to (Usefully) Lose Control of Your Brand

If you think you own your company’s brand, think again. With social media and public access to broad audiences, it’s the customer who controls the brand now. This six and a half minute video by Tim Leberecht reminds us of this and shows us how to gracefully accept it.

Looking Past Limitations

This video isn’t about business, per se, but Caroline Casey’s ability to get past her own limitations are sure to inspire you. It’s worth a watch just to hear about her interesting childhood.

This is Broken

Marketing genius Seth Godin talks about what works in business and what’s broken, in his unusual, funny way. His commentary will make you look at your business, and customer experience, from a different lens.

Christina R. Green teaches small businesses, chambers and associations how to connect through content. Her articles have appeared in the Midwest Society of Association Executives’ Magazine,, AssociationTech, and Socialfish. She is a regular blogger at and Memberclicks.

She’s just a bookish writer on a quest to bring great storytelling to organizations everywhere.



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