Regular readers of know we enjoy sharing stories from history that demonstrate that today’s small businesses are the continuation of a tradition that stretches back to the beginning of recorded history. In the U.S., today is President’s Day, a national holiday that honors those who have served in that office. At, we use this day to point out some business accomplishments — and failures — of U.S. presidents, and the lessons those accomplishments and failures can teach all those who run a business.

10 Amazing Facts About George Washington’s 2nd Most Successful Startup

Upon leaving the Presidency at age 65, George Washington started what would become in the following 2 years, the largest distillery in America. The video below is from Mount Vernon, where the distillery has now been re-constructed. ()

Liquid Gold: George Washington’s Distillery from Mount Vernon on Vimeo.

8 U.S. Presidents Who Started and Ran Businesses

There are only a few presidents who started businesses, and not all of those were successful. Here are some who tried and succeeded, others who tried and failed. Pictured below is Harry S. Truman (left) as a young man in the clothing store he and a business partner owned named Truman and Jacobson Haberdashery, located at 12th and Baltimore (104 West 12th) Kansas City, Missouri. The store was opened in l919 and it failed in 1921. ()

Harry Truman haberdashery

(Photo: Truman Library)

Lessons From Two U.S. Presidents Who First Failed in Business, Then Won the Civil War

Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant  both experienced business setbacks, but together guided the Union Army to victory in the Civil War. ()

Grant and Lincoln The Peacemakers

(From the painting, The Peacemakers, via Wikipedia.)

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