100 Founders Share Their Top Aha” Moments — Guess How Many Jobs They’ve Created So Far?”

Prepare to be stunned. Recently, I took issue with news reports questioning the role of small business as a source of new jobs. I summed it up with a remark from Jim Clifton, the Chairman of Gallup, from his new book The Coming Job Wars:

“What the U.S. needs more than anything in its quest to win good new jobs in its cities is that rare talent [entrepreneurship] to start companies or to create new business models that work, that grow organizations—big ones, small ones, medium-sized ones, sustainable ones.”

To test my assumptions further, my associate Cheryl Conner issued an invitation last week to successful founders (whose companies survived 5 years or more). We asked them to share the pivotal “aha” moments that solidified their decision to go forward and set the direction for their entrepreneurial careers. We also asked them to tell us how many jobs their idea created.

The responses floored us. In less than 24 hours, more than 200 company founders responded. Their stories amazed us, and the number of jobs astounded us even more.

Granted, this is unscientific data. We compiled the stories and totaled the job results of the first 100 who were able to finalize their stories with us within the space of a day. If we missed your story, we’re sorry – feel free to include it in comments. If we included less than you hoped to tell us, feel free to make those additions in the comment section as well. Already, this compilation is beyond anything I have published here yet.

Several (12) of the companies were younger than 5 years, but because they responded with such compelling stories, we let their submissions remain (although they have been noted with an asterisk.)

So clearly this is not a pristine statistical survey. However, it is my hope that it will leave you inspired. Are you ready? The 100 firms we present to you today have collectively created a total of 69,224 jobs. This is not a typo. These 100 “aha’s” have very literally led to the creation of an average of 692 jobs apiece.

Here are their stories. I welcome your responses. If there is sufficient interest, I will consider a sequel. Enjoy!

54. Kevin Ross, Metova, Inc., 7 jobs,

My “aha” moment came when I realized that while you can look to your peers for business advice and guidance, ultimately there is no recipe to follow. When I took accountability and ownership of my situation, I determined that I knew how to find the solution.


By Alan Hall, Contributor, Forbes

This article originally appeared in Forbes.