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Business Ideas – 3 Billionaire Success Lessons from Terry Matthews by Evan Carmichael
Today we’re going to take a look at how a farm boy from Wales moved to Canada and turned a $4,000 in startup loan into almost $2 billion. This is the story of serial entrepreneur Terry Matthews and the top 3 lessons that you can learn from his success.
“That’s the secret. Timing, hard work, smarts and partners. Using that formula, I’ve either founded or funded over 80 companies, and none have gone bankrupt. Most have done very well.” – Terry Matthews
Terry Matthews was born on June 6, 1943 in Gwent, Wales, where he spent a lot of his childhood. As a boy, Matthews would enjoy taking cars apart and building small electric motors with the pieces. He was curious to see how much he could put together on his own. When he found a four-leaf clover in the field behind a local Wesleyan chapel, Matthews says he knew he was going to be lucky in life.
Alongside business partner and fellow British expatriate Michael Cowpland, Matthews borrowed $4,000 and founded Advanced Networking Devices. He had no business plan to speak of, but was convinced he had an idea worth putting on the market. The pair also wanted to raise seed money for future enterprises they were planning. Six months later, he changed the company’s name to Mitel. While some believe Mitel stands for “Mike and Terry’s Electric Lawnmowers” – after their first, failed product – Cowpland insists it stands for “Mike and Terry Electronics.”
Acknowledging that importing lawnmowers was not going to be his ticket to success, Matthews shifted Mitel’s focus. With the introduction of the touch tone receiver, as well as the PBX call routing system, Mitel revolutionized the telecommunications industry. Now, as a British Knight as well as a billionaire, Matthews continues to serve as founder and chairman of Wesley Clover, an investment firm with investments in telecommunications, real estate and leisure, as well as being directly involved in a handful of other companies – all focused on next generation technologies that Matthews believes will give him his next success.
Action Item #1: Be Persistent
Action Item #2: Build Relationships
Action Item #3: Make the Product Beneficial
“I don’t have time to play.”
“Make a mark; don’t be part of the living dead.”
“Lots of companies are cutting back because the so-called bubble burst, allowing me to hire some of the best talent on the planet. While they were cutting back I bought Mitel and increased R&D spending by 50 per cent.”