The Entrepreneur: Maxine Clark, 57. Clark left a successful corporate career to start her own business, Build-A-Bear Workshop (NYSE:BBW – News), then a relatively new concept in retail entertainment.
(According to Clark) I have always believed in listening to what others have to say, but being careful about the advice you actually take. Rather than adhering strictly to the traditional ways of doing things, I challenge myself and those I work with to think more creatively. I’m constantly trying to come up with ways we can take a conventional product or task and put our own unique spin on it by making it more “bearish.”
For instance, Build-A-Bear Workshop didn’t invent teddy bears, nor were we first to create the places that make them. But we put an entirely new spin on the teddy bear business. We saw possibilities like no one else. People always say to me “Why didn’t I think of that?” Well, because teddy bears weren’t their thing, they weren’t their passion, but perhaps they have a passion for something else.
…you should always allow yourself to dream — and dream big — it’s only through such thinking that great things happen. Don’t limit yourself because you don’t think your dream is attainable. You must start by believing you can truly achieve whatever you set your mind to, no matter how big it might seem. Not dreaming big enough is one of the biggest mistakes you can make — if you can’t see your dream, how do you expect others to?
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