Every year, the folks at Entrepreneur Magazine name an Entrepreneur of the Year. They’re looking for a person who makes a positive impact and improves their industry, employees, and community with a combination of ideas, leadership, and vision. The deadline for entries this year is June 15, so you’ve got plenty of time to enter and share your story.

Let’s take a look at some quick lessons you can learn from some past winners:

  • Don’t give up: 2011 Entrepreneur of the Year Lee Rhodes was a mother of three fighting lung cancer when she was inspired to start glassybaby. If she could overcome those odds, imagine what you can do!
  • Ignore the naysayers: People told Rhodes she wouldn’t be able to make a success of a business that sold just one product. She proved them wrong. So did 2008 winner Devon Rifkin, of the Great American Hanger Company, who’s company makes and sells… hangers.
  • Empower your team: 2012 Entrepreneur of the Year Daniel Lubetzky, maker of KIND Healthy Snacks,  gives every employee stock options. Every employee gets a sense of ownership.
  • Have a cause: Lubetsky is a social entrepreneur who’s companies operate on a “not-only-for-profit” business model, with an economic as well as social bottom line. Rhodes subscribes to this model as well, giving a large percentage of her revenue to programs for cancer patients.
  • Find a problem: Rick Alden, of Skullcandy, was Entrepreneur of the Year in 2010. In his acceptance speech he stressed the importance of finding creative solutions to existing problems.

Next year we’d love to feature lessons fellow entrepreneurs could learn from your story. Just click here to enter for a chance to be named Entrepreneur Magazine’s Entrepreneur of 2012.

Winner image on homepage courtesy of Shutterstock

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