BFW picWe have so much to be thankful for in the United States, and Thanksgiving Day is the perfect time to express our gratitude. The economy appears to be improving, employment seems to be on the upsurge and home values have been on the rise. But there is something else, something that promises to sustain our economy, something unique about us as Americans, for which we all should be thankful. It’s our culture that encourages and supports new businesses to get off the ground and survive.

These new businesses create new jobs, improve our standard of living and extend our very lives. The products and services they provide can be seen all over the world. Other cultures want to know what is it about those Americans that keeps them innovating and improving our world. The answer is it’s our culture of entrepreneurship!

Television shows like Shark Tank and movies like The Social Network celebrate entrepreneurial success. Publications like Entrepreneur, Inc., Fast Company and Forbes keep us on top of the latest real-life challenges and victories of entrepreneurs. Just in the past decade we have seen an explosion in secondary education as school after school focuses on entrepreneurship. Start-up hubs, launch pads and innovation centers are blossoming in every city throughout our great country.

Young people growing up in our society admire entrepreneurship and recognize it as a valid alternative to employment. Many are encouraged to think out of the box and to start their own ventures. Contrast that with the skeptical attitude exhibited in other parts of the world where people are actively discouraged from starting their own businesses.

In those societies, entrepreneurs are seen as people who couldn’t hold down a good job, people who had to seek an alternative means of support, people who took needless risks, and people who failed. They are seen as giving up “all that security” to pursue a sketchy proposition.  Failure is seen in many countries as a scar for life, as a situation from which there is no recovery. These people are disrespected and perceived as an embarrassment to their friends and family.

For us, people who take risks are seen as courageous. They mitigate their challenges with imagination, innovation, hard work and tenacity. For us, failure is just a pit stop upon the road to success. When setbacks occur, we cheer entrepreneurs on while other cultures may say, “You are making a big mistake!” We encourage them to pick up the pieces, keep on trying, and when they do succeed, we say, “We knew you could do it!”

Thanksgiving Day is a classic American holiday where we as a nation take the time to reflect on all the things we have to be thankful for. Our culture of support for the entrepreneurial spirit that makes our quality of life possible is also classically American. This year let’s take a moment to appreciate this culture and recommit ourselves to fully support aspiring, struggling, and successful entrepreneurs. It is our support and belief in their success that keeps them going to the benefit of us all. It is their success that creates new jobs, products and services, and helps to keep our country strong. Happy Thanksgiving everybody!



Who We Are

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey Barefoot Wine Founders

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey co-authored the New York Times bestselling business book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand. The book has been selected as recommended reading in the CEO Library for CEO Forum, the C-Suite Book Club, and numerous university classes on business and entrepreneurship. It chronicles their humble beginnings from the laundry room of a rented Sonoma County farmhouse to the board room of E&J Gallo, who ultimately acquired their brand and engaged them as brand consultants. Barefoot is now the world’s largest wine brand.

Beginning with virtually no money and no wine industry experience, they employed innovative ideas to overcome obstacles, create new markets and forge strategic alliances. They pioneered Worthy Cause Marketing and performance-based compensation. They built an internationally bestselling brand and received their industry’s “Hot Brand” award for several consecutive years.

They offer their Guiding Principles for Success (GPS) to help entrepreneurs become successful. Their book, The Entrepreneurial Culture: 23 Ways To Engage and Empower Your People, helps corporations maximize the value of their human resources.

Currently they travel the world leading workshops, trainings, & keynoting at business schools, corporations, conferences. They are regular media guests and contributors to international publications and professional journals. They are C-Suite Network Advisors & Contributing Editors. Visit their popular brand building site at

To make inquiries for keynote speaking, trainings or consulting, please contact