Inspiring TED Talks for Small Businesses

These super-short talks - 15 minutes or less - are delivered by the world’s best speakers and cover an amazing array of topics. Sponsored by a non-profit dedicated to the spread of knowledge and innovation, one of these short videos might just spark your next big idea.

Leadership expert Simon Sinek on “Why good leaders make you feel safe”

If anyone can make you rethink your management strategy it’s leadership expert Simon Sinek. In this fascinating TED Talk Sinek argues that good leaders make their employees feel secure. Not only does putting people before profits improve morale, Sinek says, a climate of safety encourages workers to take the kinds of risks that lead to great customer service and improved productivity. Cooperation and trust can thrive in any workplace, he argues, if you get the environment right. It’s certainly food for thought. 


Bestselling author Elizabeth Gilbert on “Success, failure and the drive to keep creating”

When Elizabeth Gilbert, the bestselling author of Eat, Prey, Love, sat down to write her next book she had a problem: She knew that anything she wrote would be a disappointing follow-up to her unbelievable success. She was right – her next book bombed. But Gilbert kept working anyway. And guess what? She got through it. This talk is a great source of inspiration for anyone feeling anxious about where to go from here – pretty common around the New Year! Whether you’re worried that you won’t match your incredible 2014 or wondering whether one slow year will turn into two, Gilbert has some great advice on how to move past your fear and get back in the zone. 

Sound consultant Julian Treasure on “How to speak so that people want to listen”

So much of running a business is about communicating. Whether you’re instructing staff, helping customers or negotiating with suppliers, it’s all about getting your point across! With that in mind, all small business owners should take ten minutes to watch sound consultant Julian Treasure’s talk. Treasure identifies the seven deadly sins of conversation – including negativity – and highlights four tactics that will make your conversation partner really listen to what you have to say. By being honest and authentic and speaking with integrity and good intentions, he says, we can all become fantastic communicators. It may be a tall order, but it certainly is one worth living up to.


Competitive swimmer and motivational speaker Diana Nyad on “Never, ever giving up”

If you’re having a bit of trouble getting your business where you want it to be, Olympic swimmer Diana Nyad’s talk could give you just the morale boost you need. Nyad, who became the first person to swim from Cuba to the coast of Florida when she was in her 60s, failed four times before she completed her goal. But she never gave up. Nyad’s motto is an inspiration to business owners everywhere: “If you have a dream, find a way.”

 ALS advocate Nancy Frates on starting the Ice Bucket Challenge

It may surprise you that the person behind the biggest social media phenomenon of 2014 – the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge – wasn’t a communications specialist or a celebrity. It was a mum from Boston. Nancy Frates’ TED Talk about the craze that raised millions for charity isn’t a cynical message about how to make a viral video. Rather, it’s a personal story about turning a terrible situation into a positive force in the world. While this may not relate directly to managing your small business, it’s a powerful example of what all entrepreneurs know in their hearts: A lot of passion and hard work can yield incredible results!


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