Download Start Something That Matters PDF

TitleStart Something That Matters
File Size3.1 MB
Total Pages160
Table of Contents
                            Title Page
Author’s Note
One: The Toms Story
Two: Find Your Story
Three: Face Your Fears
Four: Be Resourceful Without Resources
Five: Keep It Simple
Six: Build Trust
Seven: Giving is Good Business
Eight: The Final Step
About the Author
Reader’s Guide
Document Text Contents
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ball, a Sharpie, and a couple of stamps.
In fact, Michele still writes some of the messages on the balls herself.
“It’s not complicated. You have to have good handwriting and a sense of
humor. That’s it.”

implicity is simple.
Perhaps this sounds redundant. But it’s true, and it’s important. If
you’re searching for success—whether you’re starting a business,

already working in one, or thinking about switching to a new career—
think simple. Businesses like Michele’s SENDaBALL long ago realized this
wisdom and have used simplicity to make both waves and money.
At TOMS, this philosophy guides two primary areas: simplicity of
product design and simplicity of business model. The latter value applies
to all businesses. The former pertains only to businesses that are design-
oriented. If your business is a service, there are ways to keep your
service simple as well. More about that later.

Let’s start with design: TOMS’ design is based on a shoe, the Argentinian
alpargata, that has been around for more than one hundred years. The
shoe’s straightforward, comfortable design makes it an easy fit for
everyone: It’s a piece of canvas draped around the foot and attached to a
sole. It looks good, it’s easy to slip on and off, and it dries quickly, which
is important for the Argentinian farmers who have to deal with sudden
summer showers in their fields.
To create TOMS, we translated that basic design into an American
version by creating a more durable sole and insole. But at all costs we
preserved the shoe’s basic simplicity.
Look how well other shoe brands in the same category have
successfully relied on a simple, traditional design: UGGs are based on a
simple sheepskin boot used by sheep farmers in Australia; Havaiana flip-
flops are based on brightly colored rubber shoes from Brazil. Both types
of footwear are the essence of simplicity, and both have become cool
and popular with urban customers.

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Tyler Eltringham was inspired by TOMS to create OneShot, a nonprofit
organization dedicated to providing meningitis vaccinations to college
students living in university housing; and for every vaccine administered
in the United States, OneShot gives a shot to a person in need in the
meningitis belt of Africa. Eltringham was still an undergraduate student
when he launched OneShot, and had no previous experience in business
or entrepreneurship. But he didn’t let that stop him. The “final step,”
Mycoskie explains, is actually the first step: You will never be fully
prepared, but you have to start something anyway. You have to get

1. Knowledge can be a powerful tool, but it can also paralyze you into
inaction. When you’re first getting started, how can you go about the
research phase without getting overwhelmed? What information is
indispensable when starting a new business or project?

2. Blake writes, “Someone once told me the key to staying healthy was
tying his shoes.” Why is this good advice for someone starting a business
venture? What are some examples of “tying your shoes” in business?

3. What are some of the challenges facing a start-up like OneShot? How
does OneShot use giving to connect its philanthropic and business
elements? How does this connection make OneShot’s story resonate?

4. How was Tyler resourceful without resources in creating OneShot? In
what ways is being a college student an advantage when starting a new
project or business? What free resources are available to students?

5. The first step is often the hardest to take because it involves moving
into unfamiliar territory. But the truth is that the challenges that occur

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later in an endeavor are often more difficult to overcome, but they don’t
feel nearly as hard. Why is this?

1. Is ignorance bliss? Think about a big project, school assignment, or
hobby that you’ve worked on in the past and the challenges that you
faced along the way. Would knowing about those problems ahead of
time have affected your decision to undertake the project? Would you
have been scared off? Was it better not to know about them?

2. It’s good to have friends. Think about all of the people in your life—
your friends, family, and members of your community. As you’re
thinking about starting something that matters, who are five people who
you could reach out to for advice? How could each of these people help

3. Carpe diem. Now that you’ve finished Start Something That Matters,
how will you seize the day? Are you interested in starting a business,
nonprofit, or just making a big change in your life? How will you get
your project off the ground?

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