The day before this Editor's Letter was due, Inc. won a National Magazine Award for General Excellence. I was going to save the news for the end of the essay, but sorry: I can't help myself. These awards are the Oscars of our profession and I'm just too proud of the team at Inc. not to blurt it out. That's a photo, above, of our Ellie--the Alexander Calder elephant sculpture that has long been the award's trophy. It's our second in three years.
Not to take anything away from us, but in competing for this award, we did have an unfair advantage: you. From an editor's point of view, entrepreneurs have the best stories in business, bar none. Every tale of entrepreneurial success is filled with plot twists, dramatic escapes, courage, and sacrifice. Plus, since you are the economy's wellspring of innovation and job creation, your stories are more than just ripping yarns. They matter. A lot.
Just look at the most significant business leaders of this generation, most of whom (of course) are entrepreneurs. Steve Jobs? What's more epic than his fall from grace--fired from the company he founded--and his battle to regain control? Howard Schultz? He also had to leave his company to prove himself before he could return to pursue his vision. Homer himself couldn't make this stuff up.
And here's the other thing: Entrepreneurs' stories are heroic even when the entrepreneur is not yet famous. Take, for example, this month's cover subject. Brandi Temple, founder of a kids' clothing maker, figured out how to sell on Facebook, a puzzle that had stumped giant marketers. Like Jobs and Schultz, Temple came within inches of losing her company--but I don't want to spoil the story. Read about her on here, and you'll be inspired, again, by what entrepreneurs can do.
Entrepreneurial heroics wouldn't mean much if the risks you face weren't real. Jessica Bruder's "The Affair" is an eyes-wide-open warning about one such risk--namely, that obsessive dedication to your company could jeopardize your marriage. It's not a feel-good topic, but Inc. has been serving entrepreneurs for 35 years. We didn't earn that distinction by pulling punches.
Still, having been around doesn't free us from the need to keep innovating. In "The Top Design Trends of 2014," we introduce our first annual Best in Class Awards for products designed and sold by American entrepreneurs. Design, after all, is a great equalizer--one that allows you to compete with enterprises vastly larger than yours. In our view, good design is synonymous not just with pleasing lines but also with practicality, innovation, and resourcefulness. Those are tools entrepreneurs wield better than anyone.