Business Ideas: My Favorite 7 Boldest Entrepreneur Moves of All Time
Bold Move #1: Walt Disney Does The Impossible
According to Disney: “Somehow I can’t believe there are any heights that can’t be scaled by a man who knows the secret of making dreams come true. This special secret, it seems to me, can be summarized in four C’s. They are Curiosity, Confidence, Courage, and Constancy and the greatest of these is Confidence.”
Bold Move #2: Guy Laliberté Risks It All In Los Angeles
According to Laliberté: “It was live or die in L.A. And we bet everything on one night. By the end of the show we had standing ovations. The day after, tickets were selling like crazy. I bet everything on that one night. If we failed, there was no cash for gas to come home.”
Bold Move #3: A.P. Giannini Bets On The Little Guy
When a massive earthquake hit San Francisco in 1906, all the banks in the city closed down to assess their damage. People couldn’t get access to their funds at the time they needed it the most. The earthquake demolished Giannini’s bank but he opened up shop by setting up a desk using two barrels and a plank of wood across them. He would lend money to people based on a handshake to help them rebuild their lives. He also went on to fund entrepreneurs like Walt Disney who nobody believed in and projects like the Golden Gate Bridge that were considered too crazy to invest in.
Bold Move #4: Anita Roddick Is Forced To Survive
According to Roddick: “For myself, I needed to earn money, to look after the kids while my husband was traveling for two years across South America… I started The Body Shop in 1976 simply to create a livelihood for myself and my two daughters, while my husband, Gordon, was trekking across the Americas. I had no training or experience and my only business acumen was Gordon’s advice to take sales of £300 a week. Nobody talks of entrepreneurship as survival, but that’s exactly what it is and what nurtures creative thinking.”
Bold Move #5: George Lucas Challenges Traditional Business Models
According to Lucas: “My first six years in the business were hopeless. There are a lot of times when you sit and you say ‘Why am I doing this? I’ll never make it. It’s just not going to happen. I should go out and get a real job and try to survive’. I thought Star Wars was too wacky for the general public. Right or wrong this is my movie, this is my decision, and this is my creative vision, and if people don’t like it, they don’t have to see it.”
Bold Move #6: Ted Turner Decides To Be Successful
According to Turner: “All my life people have said that I wasn’t going to make it… I’ve never run into a guy who could win at the top level in anything today and didn’t have the right attitude, didn’t give it everything he had, at least while he was doing it; wasn’t prepared and didn’t have the whole program worked out.”
Bold Move #7 Milton Hershey Doesn’t Give Up
But he still refused to give up. He started a new business with a former employee of his and moved from making caramels to chocolate. After 10 years of failure, Hershey finally hit on a winning business. His company expanded year after year and if he had listened to his friends and family through those 10 years of failure we would never have known the Hershey Chocolate bar.
Business Ideas – Akio Morita Business Lessons (Sony Company Founder)
Evan Carmichael discusses how you can model the success of Sony founder, Akio Morita.
“It had to be something different, something that nobody else was making.” – Akio Morita
Action Item #1: Trust Your Gut
There’s never enough information to make a decision that you can be 100% sure of. By the time the information becomes fully available it will be too late – either someone else would have scooped the idea from you or the window of opportunity will have closed. As entrepreneurs we have to trust our gut when making decisions using the best information that we have available.
In 1978 Sony developed a prototype portable product that would allow people to listen to cassette tapes while they were on long flights. The project was put on hold as market research indicated that no consumer would buy a tape recorder that did not have the capacity to record and that earphones would hold the product back as they were seen to be irritating and potentially associated with hearing loss.
Despite the advice given to him by his marketing department, Morita chose instead to trust his gut. He told Sony staff that they were going to create a worldwide culture of headphone wearers and in 1979 Sony released the Walkman. It went on to sell over 330 million units. Morita then gave the following advice for business owners: “Carefully watch how people live, get an intuitive sense as to what they might want and then go with it. Don’t do market research.”
Action Item #2: Find A Good Company Name and Product Name
The names you choose for your company and products are what people remember you by. If they’re too hard to pronounce, difficult to spell, or not easy to recall then you lose out on the opportunity of having customers talk about you to their friends and coming back as repeat buyers.
Sony’s original company name was Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo Kabushiki Kaisha. Long and difficult to remember in English, the company decided it would need to change its name to better serve the North American market. Trying to find a new name, Morita found that ‘sonus’ is the Latin word for sound. He thought its meaning was appropriate considering their industry. However, he didn’t think that it was catchy enough. Morita decided to combine ‘sonus’ with ‘Sonny,’ a nickname that had become popular amongst American kids. Morita thought ‘Sonny’ would help portray the image of the company as a youthful one, with lots of energy and a bright future ahead. With that, the Sony Corporation was formed.
Similarly, when Sony first released the Walkman, Sony’s U.S. division considered the name ‘Walkman’ to be improper English, and changed the product to the ‘Soundabout’ for the American market. Other divisions also began using different names until Morita put his foot down and insisted that everyone use the same name. “Walkman” became such a success that it’s listed as a word in almost every major dictionary.
Action Item #3: Look After Your People
If you’re building a company beyond yourself you’ll quickly realize how important it is to have the right people in place and to look after them. Money is important to them but don’t forget that people want to feel appreciated, challenged, and be a part of a team that’s working on important problems. Here’s Akio Morita’s advice:
“The most important mission for a manager is to develop a healthy relationship with his employees, to create a family-like feeling within the corporation, a feeling that employees and managers share the same fate. We will try to create conditions where persons could come together in a spirit of teamwork, and exercise to their heart’s desire their technological capacity.”
“I believe people work for satisfaction. I believe it is a big mistake to think that money is the only way to compensate a person for his work. People need money, but they also want to be happy in their work and proud of it.”
Business Ideas – 3 Success Lessons from Wolfgang Puck
Today we’re going to take a closer look at how the son of a single mother and a young boy contemplating suicide would start his own company that is worth around $500 million today. This is the story of renowned chef Wolfgang Puck and the top 3 lessons that you can learn from his success.
“Young people want to be famous before they know how to cook, before they know how to treat people, before they know what hospitality means. I stayed in France for seven years and Austria for three, so before I was a chef anywhere I was already cooking for 10 years.” – Wolfgang Puck
Wolfgang Johann Puck (born January 8, 1949) was born to a hotel chef mother and a butcher father; the art and love of preparing food was in his blood. Puck’s father abandoned his mother just before his birth, leaving Maria Topfschnig as a single mother. In 1956, she remarried to coal-miner Josef Puck, who then adopted Wolfgang, making him Wolfgang Johann Puck. This marriage would result in two younger sisters and a little brother for Puck.
Under the guidance of his mother, who had been dabbling in the professional culinary arts for some time, Puck began cooking pastries. He had made up his mind at an early age that he wanted to follow in his mother’s footsteps and become a professional chef. Instead of following the traditional route of first attending culinary school, however, Puck chose to instead train under an apprenticeship from the age of 14. He was sent on a train to southern Austria to work in a hotel kitchen, but did not find the success he had hoped for. After stepping onto cakes on a bakery floor, he recalls that, “everyone told me I’m good for nothing.” A few days later, the head chef told Puck, “You’d better go home to your mother so she can breastfeed you for another year.” After pondering suicide, Puck chose instead to apprentice at another hotel. It proved to be a wise decision.
Puck decided to move to the United States in 1973 and worked in several restaurants before finding a home at Ma Maison, a failing Hollywood restaurant. There he would bring the restaurant back to prominence and become co-owner. In 1982, Puck launched his first cookbook, Modern French Cooking for the American Kitchen. With the success that followed, and upon meeting his future wife and business partner Barbara Lazaroff who would encourage him to follow his dreams, Puck got the confidence he needed to finally realize one of his lifelong goals; Puck was going to open his own restaurant. With the backing of some investors, he opened Spago and the rest is history.
Action Item #1: Don’t Complicate Things
Action Item #2: Hire Good People
Action Item #3: Never Give Up
Wolfgang Puck has been seen many times by customers, but never in the light Terry Dullum remembers well. One evening he entered one of Puck’s new restaurants in Las Vegas, the Californian Pizza Kitchen at the MGM Grand Hotel. As Dullum tells the story, he walked in and sat down, only to see Puck through the open kitchen. He was surprised to see him there at all, but what surprised him more was Puck came out and took his order, then proceeded to make the pizza he ordered himself.
Dullum stated that he could see Puck toss the dough, put the ingredients on the pizza and then place it in the oven. According to Dullum, he thought maybe this was a dream and said he smiled each time he watched Puck sampling each one of the raw ingredients before he placed them on Dullum’s pizza. Here was a man worth around $500 million, owned a host of restaurants around the country, is the main caterer at the Governor’s Ball for the Academy Awards for the past 18 or so years and is probably the most famous chef in the world, but took the time to make one person a pizza. Dullum states Puck brought out the pizza and it was the best he has ever had.
“I love to make people happy.”
“There is no value with just one restaurant or with one person. The brand has to be bigger than the person.”
“LA is really very interesting. You have a Chinese part, a Japanese part, a Vietnamese part and so on. You have Thai markets. When I started to learn about the city, I said, ‘You know, maybe our menu should represent the cultural heritage of LA.”
Business Ideas – 3 Success Lessons from Ben and Jerry
Today we’re going to take a closer look at how two men would take a $5 correspondence course in ice cream making from Pennsylvania State University to learn a business. That $5 course turned these two life-long friends into the creators of one of the most popular brands of ice cream in the world. This is the story of Ben & Jerry’s founders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield and the top 3 lessons that you can learn from their success.
“When you are led by values, it doesn’t cost your business, it helps your business.” – Jerry Greenfield
Ben Cohen (born on March 18, 1951), a Brooklyn, New York native remembers being fascinated with ice cream from a young age, when his father used to regularly eat entire half-gallons directly from the carton using a large soup spoon after dinner. The curious young Cohen would take to creating his own flavours of ice cream by combining it with various cookies and candies. In fact, Cohen’s first job was working as an ice cream truck driver in his senior year of high school. Cohen attended Calhoun High School in Merrick, New York, which is where he met his future business partner Jerry Greenfield (born on March 14, 1951). Greenfield met Cohen during a gym class together in 1963. The two self-proclaimed wild boys became fast friends, and even double-dated in Cohen’s convertible.
After parting ways and bouncing around for several years, Cohen and Greenfield would finally meet up again in New York and decide to go into business together. Both Greenfield and Cohen had an interest in the food business and after debating whether to focus on bagels or ice cream, they settled on ice cream as the product they would launch — the machinery for bagels was too expensive. Immediately, the pair began doing their industry research. They took a correspondence course in ice-cream making from Penn State University for a whopping $5, which convinced them they were on the right track. In May, 1978, Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Ice Cream Parlour opened up in what was previously an abandoned gas station that they had renovated using $8,000 of their own money and $4,000 borrowed.
By creating unusual but tasty flavours like “Chubby Hubby” and the 14,000 calorie “Vermonster” — which was Greenfield’s job to manufacture — and sponsoring community festivals, word of the store quickly spread throughout the town. By the end of 1984, Ben & Jerry’s had sales in excess of $4 million, double the figure from the previous year. By 1999, the company’s total revenue was $237 million. Through a strategy of engaging in social activism and corporate social responsibility and using all natural ingredients for their products, Ben & Jerry’s stood out in a highly competitive industry. In 2000, the company and its franchises were acquired by Unilever for $326 million.
Action Item #1: Behave Responsibly
Action Item #2: Treat Your Workers Well
Action Item #3: Challenge the Big Guys
When Jerry Greenfield was asked to speak at The College of New Jersey for senior’s week he discussed his decision to sell Ben & Jerry’s to Unilever. He said, “We sold to them because they have a good sense of humour. The dame day they bought Ben & Jerry’s, they bought SlimFast.”
“Ben and I have been friends since junior high in Long Island, where we were the shortest, fattest kids on the track.”
“Business can be a source of progressive change.”
“Business has never had improving the quality of life of the general public as one of its priorities. We decided to redefine the bottom line at Ben & Jerry’s.”
Business Ideas – Lessons from Harley-Davidson
Host Evan Carmichael discusses how Harley-Davidson got started, what factors led to their success, and what you can learn from them to help you grow your company
Business Ideas – 3 Lessons from Robert Kiyosaki
Today we’re going to look at how a Vietnam veteran failed with two separate businesses but was determined to become a successful entrepreneur and not have to work for someone else. He would eventually become one of the most successful business writers of all time. This is the story of Rich Dad Poor Dad creator Robert Kiyosaki and the top 3 lessons that you can learn from his success.
“The size of your success is measured by the strength of your desire; the size of your dream; and how you handle disappointment along the way.” – Robert Kiyosaki
Robert Kiyosaki (born April 8, 1947) is an American investor, businessman, self-help author, motivational speaker, and financial literacy activist best known for his “Rich Dad Poor Dad” book series. After serving in the Marine Corps as a helicopter gunship pilot during the Vietnam War, Kiyosaki returned home to work as a salesman for Xerox. Not wanting to work for someone else for the rest of his life, Kiyosaki had dreams of starting his own business.
After unsuccessful stints selling Velcro wallets and T-shirts for heavy metal rock bands, Kiyosaki began promoting the personal growth seminars of Marshall Thurber called “Money & You.” When Thurber decided to retire, Kiyosaki took over the business and began traveling the world to educate people about financial strategies. To reach more people he decided to write his first book which he self-published, “Rich Dad Poor Dad.”
Robert Kiyosaki has written over 15 books and has sold over 26 million copies. 3 of his books have been on the best sellers lists of The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and the New York Times simultaneously and he’s a sought after speaker who continues to educate people on how to understand their money.
Action Item #1: Make Your Money Work Hard
Action Item #2: Mind Your Own Business
Action Item #3: Work to Learn, Not for Money
There was once a friend of Kiyosaki’s whose 16 year old son desperately wanted a new car. His friends had all been given one by their parents, and now this son expected nothing less. But, it was not going to be that easy for the boy. His father had played Kiyosaki’s CASHFLOW board game and he wanted to teach his son a lesson in financial management. The father gave his son $3,000 but forbade him from using it to buy a car just yet. At the same time, he gave his son a subscription to the Wall Street Journal. The father told his son that only once he had earned an additional $6,000 from investments could he then use $3,000 to buy a car. The rest of the money would of course go into his college fund. “My friend said it was the best $3,000 he ever spent,” says Kiyosaki. “Not only had his son gained a new respect for the power of money, he also learned to spend money wisely instead of letting money burn holes in his pockets.”
“Don’t work for money; make it work for you.”
“Remember, your mind is your greatest asset, so be careful what you put into it.”
” If you want to go somewhere, it is best to find someone who has already been there.”
Business Opportunity Ideas – How to Be a Businessman like Ray Kroc (McDonald’s)
Evan Carmichael discusses how you can find your next big business opportunity like Ray Kroc from McDonald’s, one of the most recognized companies in the world.
“Luck is a dividend of sweat. The more you sweat, the luckier you get.” – Ray Kroc
Raymond “Ray” Albert Kroc (October 5, 1902 — January 14, 1984) was a Czech American businessman who took over the small-scale McDonald’s Corporation franchise in 1954 and built it into the most successful fast food operation in the world. Kroc was included in Time 100: The Most Important People of the Century, and amassed a $500 million fortune during his lifetime.
Action Item #1: Always Be On The Lookout For Opportunities
Most entrepreneurs don’t end up being successful with the product or service that they start with. There are always tweaks and changes that will happen once you start talking to customers and they tell you what they want. Your prospects and customers will lead you to many potential opportunities to grow your business – the key is to jump on those opportunities and take action.
In Ray Kroc’s own words: “The two most important requirements for major success are: first, being in the right place at the right time, and second, doing something about it.”
Kroc started out as a salesman for paper cups and his customers twice brought him to new business opportunities that he acted on. Sometimes this can mean selling a completely different product or service than you were offering before. Look at your current customers – are there hidden business opportunities you can develop with them or improvements to what you currently sell that can bring them more value and put more money in your bank account? If you’re always on the lookout for new opportunities to grow your business you will eventually find the one you can hit a home run with.
Action Item #2: You’re Only As Good As The People You Hire
As your business grows beyond yourself you’ll realize the importance of having a good team. They are the ones representing your company, making decisions every day, and talking to your customers. Having a good staff will make or break your ability to build a successful company beyond yourself.
To make sure he had the best team possible in the early stages of the business, Ray Kroc personally took charge of the entire hiring process. Once he had made the decision to bring someone on board the McDonald’s team, Kroc would give each and every one of them a badge with the title of Management Trainee. It didn’t matter what their actual job was; Kroc wanted every employee to feel valuable and like an important part of the team. Kroc would then tell his workers to think of a better way to do their job or of any improvements that could be made in customer service, which could then be written down and placed into a Suggestion Box. The Suggestion Box led to countless successes like the Happy Meal, Filet-o-Fish, Big Mac, Hot Apple Pie, and Egg McMuffin.
When you hire a new employee make them feel like they are an important part of your team. Encourage their suggestions on how the business could be run better, create opportunities for them to advance, and let them know that you value their contributions. A loyal and hardworking team will reward you with outstanding business results.
Action Item #3: Be A Part Of Your Community
Ray Kroc launched a number of initiatives to help build the communities around each McDonald’s restaurant. First off he insisted that his franchise operators lived in the communities where they worked. He also hired regional advertising agencies so they could work “on the ground” and organize grand openings, birthday parties, and community programs. Finally he believed in community involvement through charities and the company continues to give back to this day as part of its corporate philosophy.
You don’t have to run a restaurant to be involved in your community. Just think about the people you sell to and where they hang out. Can you get involved in making their lives easier and better? It’s a longer term strategy but an extremely profitable one if you can win the hearts and minds of your customers by giving back.
Beyond Empowerment – Are We Ready for the Self-Managed organization?: Doug Kirkpatrick
Doug is a Northern California-based executive coach, organizational consultant, speaker, author and educator. He is the author of Beyond Empowerment: The Age of the Self-Managed Organization. An economics graduate of Pacific Lutheran University, he also holds a law degree from Willamette University College of Law and a Senior Professional in Human Resources designation (SPHR). He enjoys traveling to rough parts of the world and appreciates the perspective that he gains from it.
Tom Deans Understands Family Business Relationships
Lugen Family Office is proud to select Tom Deans as the LFO 2013 Speaker of the Year Award Winner! Congrats Tom and keep up the great work.
Dr. Thomas William Deans is the author of the all-time best-selling family business book, Every Family’s Business: 12 Common Sense Questions to Protect Your Wealth.
He now speaks on the international lecture circuit full time. Having delivered more than 500 speeches, he has built a reputation as a thought leader on the subject of intergenerational wealth transfer.
His lectures and books argue that family has emerged as the greatest economic driver of all time. But the question remains: How can wealth be transferred successfully without destroying the recipient and the wealth itself?
It is a question for the times, as the greatest generation of wealth creators move toward death in record numbers. Deans explores the idea that communication is crucial to the success of that transfer, and indeed to the success of individuals, families and communities.
The idea to write Willing Wisdom came from Tom watching his mother’s parents die. One death – his grandfather’s – was comparatively quick. His grandmother’s was a long and slow ten-year decline. Despite the significant wealth his grandparents left for family and charity, it is the conversations they shared that Tom thought about the most many years later.
In the end, when it came down to their last breaths, only the care provided by Tom’s parents, not money or even the promise of money, could purchase the dignified death each experienced.
Tom is not sure when he first became curious about why our culture has lost its inquisitiveness about death and dying, but he does know, having delivered his keynote speech on transitioning family wealth to tens of thousands of people around the world, that this trend is worsening.
We live in a culture that is in awe of wealth and all that it can provide. We also live in a culture that finds it difficult to talk about and contemplate death. The two are inextricably connected.
Tom starts conversations, but rarely does he finish them, leaving that to readers and their families, friends and trusted advisors.
Willing Wisdom represents a return to the subject of his doctoral research, conducted in the US, Canada and the UK and first published in Charities and Government by Manchester University Press.
Tom lives in a forest in the beautiful Hockley Valley in Ontario, Canada, with his wife, two children and five dogs.
John Mackey on Whole Foods, Conscious Capitalism, and Life Beyond the Profit Motive
“I think the critics of capitalism have got it in this very small box – that it’s all about money,” explains John Mackey, co-founder and co-CEO of Whole Foods. “And yet, I haven’t found it be that way. I’ve known hundreds of entrepreneurs and with very few exceptions most of them did not start their businesses primarily to make money.”
In “Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business,” Mackey and his co-author, Raj Sisodia, make a case that businesses are at their best when reaching for a higher purpose that ranges far beyond any simplistic notions of the profit motive or self-interest.
Reason’s Nick Gillespie sat down with Mackey to discuss his new book, the success of Whole Foods, the growing burden of government on day-to-day life, and how the Austin-based entrepreneur came to appreciate what he calls “the heroic spirit of business.”
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Happiness for lazy people: Sven Heijbel
An entrepreneur and psychology student who is passionate about business development and happiness, Sven co-founded Wake Up Call, a company offering educational services, and strategy agency Global Focus.
What if… We knew the difference between leadership and management?
Presenter: Tony Mortensen, Director of the Executive Development Programmes
· What is strategic leadership?
· What is effective management?
· Do organisations know the difference?
· What is best for achieving sustainable growth?
The last decade has seen an exponential increase in the number of courses offered in the area of organisational leadership, with almost every major business school worldwide now offering specialised training in this area. Do organisations truly understand the key difference between leadership and management? Do they understand what is needed in their organisation to achieve efficiency, profitability and sustainable growth? If we employ skilled people to undertake the different tasks in an organisation do we really need to manage those people or are we better off allowing them to do what we employed them to do. The flip side of this is that if we do not manage these people effectively then the organisation runs the risk of becoming less efficient and effective at providing society with the desired outcomes.
At odds with both these ideas is the fact that New Zealand is now seen as one of the hardest working countries in the OECD, yet our productivity continues to fall. Therefore, are organisations getting the best from their human resource or are we as a society destined to be out-performed?
Tony has over 18 years’ experience in accounting, management and education and is now responsible for executive training through the Master of Business Administration (MBA), Postgraduate Certificate in Strategic Leadership, Master of Business Management (MBM), Master of Professional Accounting (MPA) and Executive Education (short courses).
Lessons In Leadership – Episode 2 – Family Businesses
When it comes to family-run businesses, there’s a common saying that the first generation creates a business, the second builds it and the third squanders it away.
Is there any truth to that? Bloomberg TV India’s Mini Menon discusses how best family run businesses survive generations as she speaks to Professor John Davis, Senior Lecturer of Business Administration, Harvard Business School on Lessons In Leadership.