In honor of Columbus Day, consider the similarities between a business owner and Christopher Columbus. They may have more in common than you think.

In 1492 Christopher Columbus set sail into the wide open expanse of an endless ocean. There was no guarantee he would be successful. In fact, most people believed he would fail. At the time, the majority of people thought the earth was flat.

Columbus had a different vision than most, and he had confidence in his ability. He was passionate about his mission and he put literally everything on the line. Columbus was a visionary, a risk taker and he was brave.

Like Columbus, business owners see opportunities that most people do not. They are passionate about their purpose and they put everything on the line when there is no guarantee for success.

They risk virtually everything, even when most businesses fail. They are confident in their abilities. The business owner is a visionary, a risk taker and they are brave, too.

After Columbus discovered the Americas, many opportunities were created. His successful voyage kicked off centuries of exploration and trade. Coffee and sugar became cash crops for Latin America. His discovery created opportunities and financial security for many people, for generations to come.

When business owners are successful, they create opportunities for other people. These jobs provide financial security for their employees. Those employees may use their financial resources to send their children through college or help them start their own business. Either way, business owners can create financial security for generations to come.

Finally, the word “hero” means different things to different people. Some define a hero as a person who voluntarily takes risks and places themselves in harm’s way for the benefit of others. Based on this definition, some could argue that both Christopher Columbus and the business owner are heroes, too.

Bill Nordbrock is vice president of community relations for SCORE Southern Arizona, a nonprofit that offers free small-business counseling and mentoring by appointment. For information, go to southernarizona.score.org, send an email to mentoring@scoresouthernaz.org or call 505-3636.