Any small business owner must face a harsh truth. Even at the best time, most small businesses will go bankrupt. In this article, we will study ten entrepreneurs who have not only succeeded, but also established a huge business empire.
John D. Rockefeller
In most respects, John D. Rockefeller is the richest man in history. He made his fortune through a horizontal and vertical integration to improve efficiency, which made Standard Oil synonymous with monopoly. But at the same time, everyday consumers have also drastically reduced fuel prices.
The government completely abolished Standard Oil in 1911. Rockefeller’s hands can still be seen in companies like Exxon Mobil (XOM) and Conoco, which profit from R&D and infrastructure construction as a part of their breakup. Rockefeller retired at the turn of the century and dedicated the rest of his life to charity. More than 80 years after his death, Rockefeller has been one of the outstanding figures on Wall Street. A quote by John D. Rockefeller is here:
“I believe that every right implies a responsibility; every opportunity, an obligation; every possession, a duty”.
Andrew Carnegie loves efficiency. Carnegie’s plant has always been in a leading position in technology since it first started in the steel industry. Carnegie combined his excellent craftsmanship with excellent timing awareness and snapped up steel assets in every market downturn.
Like Rockefeller, Carnegie spent his golden years and gave away most of his life’s wealth (though not as memorable as some of his contemporaries, Andrew Carnegie’s legacy is strong and moral). Here is a saying of Andrew Carnegie:
“Do your duty and a little more and the future will take care of itself”
There is no doubt that Edison is very good, but it clearly shows that his talent is his business sense rather than his creative ability. Edison innovated and called it the current R&D process. He sold his services to many other companies before he drastically created most of the electricity infrastructure in the United States.
Edison was the founder of General Electric (GE), but now many companies owe him-Edison Electric, Condison, etc. Although Edison had more patents than his ties to the company, it was these companies that passed on his legacy to the future. Here is a saying of Thomas Edison:
“Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration”
Henry Ford did not invent the car. He is one of the teams engaged in automotive work, arguably not even the best. However, these competitors sell their cars at prices that make them a luxury for the rich. Ford not only promoted wealthy wheels to the United States, but also unleashed the power of mass production.
His Ford Model-T was the first car to inspire most of the Americans. Ford’s advanced labor policies and continuous efforts to make each car better, faster, and cheaper convince him that workers and ordinary Americans would think of Ford (F) when buying cars. Here is a quote from henry ford :
“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently”
Charles E. Merrill brought high finances to the middle class. After the economic collapse in 1929, the public swore to give up stocks and anything more financially meaningful than savings accounts. Merrill changed this by adopting the supermarket approach, which sacrificed high commissions to serve more people, thus making money in large transactions.
Merrill strives to “bring Wall Street into the Main Street”, educates his customers through free courses, publishes a code of conduct for his company, and always focuses on the interests of customers first. Here is a quote from Charles Merrill:
“You don’t wait and wait for the perfect person at the perfect time.”
Sam Walton picked a market no one wanted and then built a retail distribution system no one had tried. By building warehouses between his several Walmart (WMT) stores, and Walton was able to save transportation costs and deliver goods to busy stores faster.
Coupled with the most advanced inventory control system, Walton will make its cost to profit margin much lower than its direct competitors. Walton did not keep all his savings as profit, but transferred it to consumers. By offering consistently lowing prices, and Walton attracted more and more merchants to where he chose to open a store.
In the end, Walton took Walmart to the big city to maintain a certain profit margin with the big boys. The beasts of Bentonville never looked back. Here is a quote from this famous entrepreneur:
“There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else”
Charles Schwab is often called, “Chuck.” In the Internet age, Merrill’s love for the little guy and the emphasis on price. When the bargaining service was opened on Labor Day on May 1st-all broker transactions were at the same price before-Schwab was one of the first companies to provide discount brokerage services to individual investors.
To this end, he laid off researchers, analysts, and consultants, and prohibited investors from authorizing themselves when placing orders. Then Schwab added services important to customers from the beginning, such as 24-hour service and more branches. Merrill Lynch brought individual investors back to the market, but Chuck Schwab’s price was enough to keep them. One of his quotes is down below:
“When a man has put a limit on what he will do, he has put a limit on what he can do.”
In the 1920s, Walt Disney was about to create a cultural master. As an animator for an advertising company, Disney began to make his animated shorts in the studio’s garage. Disney created a character inspired by Mickey Mouse, the mouse roaming his office, and made it the hero of “Steamboat Willie” in 1928.
Mickey Mouse’s commercial success led Disney to create an animation factory with a team of animators, musicians, and artists. Disney turned that mouse into several amusement parks, full-length animations, and merchandise monopoly. After his death, Disney (DIS) and his mouse became the founders of the world’s largest media company, and this growth has continued. A quote from Walt Disney is down below:
“I only hope that we never lose sight of one thing — that it was all started by a mouse.”
When people describe Bill Gates, they usually think of “rich”, “competitive” and “smart.” Among these three characteristics, Gates’ competitive nature determines his fate. Gates not only fought to win the battle between the operating system (OS) and the Internet browser, but also won the profits from the victory, and Microsoft’s dominance to fund future battles and adventures.
Xbox is just one of many side businesses funded by a huge war fund. The fact is that Microsoft’s cash and Gates are unwilling to pay, which is an important reason for the company to survive difficult times and provide funds for expansion in good times. A quote from bill gates is down below:
“It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.”
Steve Jobs co-founded Apple (AAPL), one of the few technology companies that challenged Microsoft’s dominance. In stark contrast to Gates’ methodical expansion, Jobs’ influence on Apple is one of the explosions of creativity. When Jobs returned to Apple, Apple was a computer company.
Now, the iPod, iPhone, and iPad are the engines of growth, which enables Apple to surpass the once impeccable Microsoft. In 2010, Apple surpassed Microsoft’s market value for the first time. In 2019, there were more than 500 million Apple customers globally. A quote from steve jobs is down here:
“The hardest thing when you think about focusing. You think focusing is about saying “Yes.” No. Focusing is about saying “No.” And when you say “No,” you piss off people.”
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