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Think, Live, Be Positive Aggressive | Phil Soran
Phil Soran is a serial entrepreneur in the technology field, founding companies that have generated thousands of jobs. Most recently, Phil was the founder, President and CEO of Compellent Technologies which started in 2002.
Business Ideas: My Favourite 5 Gutsiest Entrepreneur Launches of All Time
Gutsiest Entrepreneur Launch #5: Dana White Saves the UFC
White agreed and put his business on the line. The show became a huge success which ended with Forrest Griffin and Stephan Bonnar fighting for a six-figure contract. White credits the show for saving the UFC and continued airing new seasons of The Ultimate Fighter to expand the awareness and popularity of his company.
Gutsiest Entrepreneur Launch #4 – Philip Knight signs Michael Jordan:
The Air Jordan became the most valuable footwear franchise in Nike’s history. It was so popular that launch dates had to be postponed to weekends so kids wouldn’t be tempted to skip school to get their hands on the latest Air Jordan. The move took Nike from being a running shoe company with no exposure to the basketball market to now owning as much as 85% of the basketball shoe market.
Gutsiest Entrepreneur Launch #3: Bill Gates Pitches a Product that Doesn’t Exist
Bill Gates and long time friend Paul Allen turned their passion for programming into a business when they saw a picture of the Altair 8080 on the cover of Popular Electronics. Gates called Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems (MITS), the company that was manufacturing the Altair, and told them that he and Allen had developed a programming language for the computer that was ready to launch.
With not a single line of code written and no Altair to work on, Gates and Allen worked around the clock on Harvard computers to do what they said they had already done. Eight weeks later, Allen flew to MITS headquarters in New Mexico to present their code. Without even a test-run, their program was a success and MITS bought the rights, making it an industry standard. Within one year, Gates had dropped out of Harvard and the two high school friends established Microsoft Corporation.
Gutsiest Entrepreneur Launch #2: Richard Branson Drives a Tank into Times Square
To launch Virgin Cola he rode into Times Square in New York City on top of a tank, promising to battle with Coke and Pepsi. To launch Virgin Mobile in Canada he repelled into the heart of Yonge-Dundas square. Branson has also made several world record-breaking attempts. With “Virgin Atlantic Challenger” and “Virgin Atlantic Challenger II” he raced to have the fastest Atlantic Ocean crossing. In “Virgin Atlantic Flyer” he created the world’s largest hot air balloon and was the first to cross the Atlantic in a balloon. He then tried to become the first person to go around the world in a hot air balloon.
Branson is always thinking of new ways to launch and promote his businesses – the more high profile, the better. Even when his stunts don’t work out they garner so much attention for his businesses that it’s all worth it for him.
Gutsiest Entrepreneur Launch #1: P.T. Barnum Puts on a Show
Even if you didn’t have a ticket to his show, when Barnum’s circus was in town, you would know it. He would sweep into the city with gusto; elephants would be paraded through the streets, clowns would be sent to local hospitals to visit with sick children. Barnum provided a pre-show to his circus that he hoped would get people talking and raise excitement about his show. He would give tours of his circus to anyone who wanted to see inside the Big Top, and also put on multiple free contests in order to attract crowds to his show.
Barnum was always thinking of ways to promote both himself and his circus. From making splashy entrances to using cross-promotion, Barnum did what it took to make sure people knew who he was.
Business Ideas – Business Lessons from Jenny Craig (food & service entrepreneur) by Evan Carmichael
Today we’re going to look at how a gym manager mortgaged her house to start a business because she saw a need, moved to Australia, and later sold her business for $600 million. This is the story of Jenny Craig and the top three lessons you can learn from her success.
Action Item #1: Promote, Promote, Promote!
Building a better mousetrap is not enough anymore to get a company off the ground. You need to aggressively promote your business to make sure your customers know that you exist. From advertising and public relations to search engine optimization and social media marketing, you have many opportunities to spread the word about your company and you should never take your foot off the gas!
In the company’s early years, Craig made sure that exactly ten percent of sales was directed back into commercial advertising each and every year. Individual franchises were also expected to spend ten percent of sales, or at least $1,000 a week, on local advertising for their own centres.
They used traditional advertising on television programs, leveraged celebrity endorsements, and created direct mail campaigns. But they also tried many offbeat approaches. As one example, Sid got the company a lot of publicity during one televised international cricket match, where cameras picked up on a sign in the crowd directed at the captain of the English team that read: “See Jenny Craig. Quick.”
Action Item #2: Offer Products and Services
I believe the best way to build a business is to start a service – it’s low cost and gets you close to your customers. Your chances of survival are much higher and you learn what future services and products your clients need. Once you’ve established a base of customers and know exactly what’s missing in the marketplace, you can create your products. You’ve got cashflow from your service business to keep the company running and you’ve got a loyal group of clients who are ready to buy!
Jenny Craig had the same philosophy. Her business started with Jenny Craig centres where they would help clients establish a workout program, offer nutritional guidance, and also give motivational services. Her business grew every year as she added more centres and people to her team. It was a very successful service based business.
Jenny Craig’s big break came when she started offering prepared food products as a part of her offering. She brought on board a highly qualified staff of dieticians, psychologists, and physicians to help her create a menu that was healthy and nutritional. In doing so, Jenny’s Cuisine became a central component to her program. All of her clients were required to purchase these portion and calorie controlled foods, which included over sixty different breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert and snack options. Jenny’s Cuisine proved so popular that the company’s gross revenues from food sales increased to 91 percent by 1993.
Action Item #3: Never Give Up!
Just like I discussed in my last post, it’s important as an entrepreneur to never give up on your idea. Every business owner will face a moment of crisis which forces you to think whether it’s all worth it – the long hours, the mounting debt, the personal sacrifices. These moments will help define you as an entrepreneur. It’s the founders who stare those moments square in the face and keep on building who go on to be the ultra-successful entrepreneurs.
From losing weight, to starting her own business, to not being able to run her business in America, Craig has proven that with perseverance anything is possible. When the Craigs first sold their chain of Body Contour gyms, they did so in agreement to a non-compete clause. They were not allowed to set up shop again anywhere in the U.S. for two years.
And so, refusing to wait two years before they made their next move, the couple went on a search for their next destination. Where could they begin their new line of fitness centres? What country was similar to the U.S. in terms of diet and fitness levels but presented no language barrier? The Craigs decided on Australia. Their friends thought they were “nuts” but the couple never gave up and turned their new business into a company that sold for $600 million.
Business Ideas – 3 Lessons from George Foreman by Evan Carmichael
Today we’re going to look at how a high school dropout who was constantly in trouble with the law turned his life around and started to believe him himself. He would go on to become two-time former World Heavyweight Boxing Champion and multimillionaire entrepreneur. This is the story of boxing great George Foreman and the top 3 lessons that you can learn from his success.
“Learn to sell and you’ll never starve.”- George Foreman
George “Big George” Foreman (born January 10, 1949) is an Olympic gold medalist, two-time former World Heavyweight Boxing Champion, and entrepreneur. A high school dropout, as a teenager, Foreman didn’t know how to read or write. He took to the streets and got into trouble by picking pockets and mugging people. His sister told him “You’ll never be anything.”
After finding himself on the run from the police one night and digging himself in a pile of mud to avoid their dogs finding him, Foreman decided he had to change his life. He enrolled in a job skills training program for youth and began learning how to read and write. He later also learned how to box and entered into amateur competitions so he could send $50 home to his mother every month. After a year and a half of learning to box he entered into the Olympic Games and won the gold medal. He went on to win the World Heavyweight Boxing Championship twice.
After twice retiring from professional boxing, Foreman became an entrepreneur and toured the world selling George Foreman Grills. In 2002 alone, the company earned $922 million from selling the grills. Foreman would go on to earn 3 times more money from the grills than throughout his entire career as a boxer. He has also moved on to selling TV shows, clothing, books, and Indy Car racing teams.
Action Item #1: Learn How to Sell
Action Item #2: Get People to Like You
Action Item #3: Keep Trying Until it Works
It’s rare that entrepreneurs make it big off their first idea. And even if they do, the idea has changed many times from what they thought they were going to create. Failing is a part of business. The key is to get started. Too many people don’t start because they’re afraid of failing. You will know failure – keep going. Fail smarter the next time and eventually success will be yours.
Foreman isn’t afraid of failing in business. He’s done everything from specialty shoes made for diabetics to a health-food restaurant chain to a reality television series. He’s willing to try almost anything if he thinks it might be a good opportunity and it’s something he believes in. As long as the business is something he can feel proud of and won’t damage his integrity, Foreman is willing to stretch his brand to almost anything. You never know until you try!
According to Foreman: “You’ve got to start out early in the morning and look at hundreds, literally hundreds of things. And it may take a year, it may take three or four years, but you’re going to hit something so you have something to put on the table for your family… You know you put out a lot of buckshot, you’re going to strike one.”
With a criminal record and a reputation for being a troublemaker, few gave Foreman a chance. When he joined the U.S. Job Corps looking for a way to get off the streets, he caused so many problems that he was almost expelled from the program. His supervisor advised him to find a different outlet for his anger and suggested he take up boxing. When Foreman first started to box, he was so scared that he just closed his eyes and swung his massive fists to win the fights. It was only until he started going up against better boxers that he had to learn to fight with his eyes open.
“The greatest asset, even in this country, is not oil and gas. It’s integrity. Everyone is searching for it, asking, ‘Who can I do business with that I can trust?'”
“You must preserve the quality of your name, your integrity. You don’t want to lie about anything. And it’s something that people will be happy about once they get to know you. Because people count on you.”
“Make a decision you’ll be able to sleep with, wake up the next day, look in the mirror and feel good about yourself.”
Business Ideas – 3 Lessons From Brett Wilson by Evan Carmichael
Today we’re going to look at how an engineer discovered how his field was not for him and that business was more of his passion so he went back to school to get his MBA and focus on the business world. This man would go on to become one of the richest businessmen in Canada and is also well-known for his generosity. This is the story of Canadian entrepreneur Brett Wilson and the top 3 lessons that you can learn from his success.
“Innovative thinkers are constantly asking the question: How can we make things better? No matter what stage you’re at in your career or what industry you work in, everyone around you can benefit from new ideas. Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box – just because something works doesn’t mean it can’t be better.” – Brett Wilson
Brett Wilson (born July 1, 1957), a Canadian engineer, businessman and television personality is best known for his appearances on CBC’s Dragon’s Den. After growing up in a middle class family, his father a car salesman and mother a social worker, Wilson went off to college to study engineering. He would get his bachelor’s degree in engineering and go to work for one of the oil companies in Western Canada. However, after a few years of working as an engineer, he discovered that he wanted to do something else – business.
After going back to school to get his MBA, Wilson would join nine other friends to start an investment club. They each put in $200 and invested in the stock market. They would soon each get back $221, but more importantly, understand how the stock market worked, how commissions worked, how to buy and sell stocks, as well as learn to research and watch market trends. It wasn’t much money, but this small investment club got Wilson moving and drove him to wanting to do more in the business world. He would go on to work for an investment bank, but his entrepreneurial spirit was still not satisfied. He would bide his time, network, make contacts and learn everything he could, so one day he could start his own business.
Finally, he would create his own investment advisory firm and later team up with three partners to create a brokerage firm, FirstEnergy Capital, that would offer investment services to the oil and gas industry. Today, FirstEnergy Capital has handled more than $150 billion worth of mergers, acquisitions and asset sales. Wilson has been named one of the top 20 deal makers in Canada and one of the top 10 mergers and acquisitions specialists in Canada.
Business Ideas – 3 Business Lessons From Pierre Omidyar by Evan Carmichael
Today we’re going to look at how an entrepreneur followed his passion for computers and in one weekend created the code for a new website that would go on to become one of the most well known sites in the world. This is the story of eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and the top 3 lessons that you can learn from his success.
“It is not really work if you are having fun…that was the case with me.” – Pierre Omidyar
Pierre Omidyar (born June 21, 1967) is an American entrepreneur and philanthropist/economist, and the founder/chairman of eBay. Growing up he became fascinated with computers and often skipped gym glass in school to play on their computers. After graduating high school and university, he went to work for an Apple subsidiary to develop software for the Macintosh. Omidyar soon felt the entrepreneur itch and wanted to start his own business.
When Omidyar was 28 years old, he stayed in front of his computer for the entire Labour Day long weekend and wrote the original code for eBay. Originally called “Auction Web”, Omidyar wanted to change the name to echobay and drove to Sacramento to register the name. When he arrived, he found echobay was already registered so he decided to go with eBay on the spot instead of having to make a return trip.
Today, eBay has revenues of over $9 billion and Omidyar serves as its Chairman. He has an estimated net worth of $6.7 billion making him the 50th richest person in the world and it all began with one long weekend writing code and launching a new website.
Action Item #1: Just Go For It
Action Item #2: Follow Your Passion
Action Item #3: Be Nice
eBay was originally hosted on a website that Omidyar had created with information about the ebola virus. The site originally allowed buyers and sellers to connect for free but as the site grew, he had to charge a small fee. Omidyar hoped that the transaction fees would eventually be enough to cover his website hosting costs.
“You should pursue your passion. If you’re passionate about something and you work hard, then I think you will be successful.”
“You have to really believe in what you’re doing, be passionate enough about it so that you will put in the hours and hard work that it takes to actually succeed there, and then you’ll be successful.”
“I was raised with the notion that you can do pretty much do anything you want. I always kind of just went ahead and tried things.”
Business Ideas: My Favorite 7 Boldest Entrepreneur Moves of All Time by Evan Carmichael
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.
The Mayfair Set episode 2 – Entrepreneur Spelt S.P.I.V – Lugen Family Office
Happiness for lazy people: Sven Heijbel – Lugen Family Office
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.
Part 1: Daniel Isenberg On The Value Of Contrarian Entrepreneurs
Babson Global professor and author of ‘Worthless, Impossible, and Stupid’ discusses super chickens, mud-runs, and innovative education models in Part 1 of a 2 part conversation with Steve Forbes.
Part 2: Behind Every Great Entrepreneur Is A Great Entrepreneur
Daniel Isenberg, author of “Worthless, Impossible, and Stupid,” talks to Steve Forbes about entrepreneurial failures, successful micro-enterprises in Rwanda, and why startups must think globally in order to truly endure. Part 2 of 2.