6 Leaders You Didn’t Know Failed Before Success
and the lessons we can learn from it…
Starting a business is not an easy task. In fact, developing your idea and nurturing its growth can be a journey full of adversity.
Even today it is difficult to build a company. While businesses can access a range of tools such as B. B2B Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) platforms to expand cash flow, social media to make connections, and the internet to access information that accelerates product development, there are still challenges appreciate.
Of course, these challenges are not new. Even some of the biggest and best in business have had their own setbacks. By understanding other leaders’ setbacks, we can see how they were overcome.
Playter examines some of the biggest names in business, their failures before success, and the lessons we can learn in building our own businesses.
You know him as the Amazon founder, owner and second richest man in the world. But did you know that the path to success for the American entrepreneur wasn’t as easy as his one-click, next-day delivery business model?
Amazon started out as an online bookstore, with Bezos giving the company only a 30 percent chance of success. But while the model was expanded and evolved to cover a variety of sectors, the commercial astronaut’s other sophisticated plans failed to take off.
In 1999, Bezos expanded his e-commerce offering and launched zShops, a platform that allowed any business to sell online. While the idea doesn’t seem too far off from today’s Amazon model, the project failed so miserably that Bezos joked that only he and his parents ever visited a zShop.
But the failure allowed Amazon to perfect its e-commerce offering, eventually providing a marketplace model that would act as an intermediary between businesses and sellers alongside Amazon’s own products.
Other outperformed opportunities included investments in Pets.com and Groupon’s rival LivingSocial. Both locations failed as they were closed and taken over by other companies.
Within Amazon, products and services like the Amazon Fire smartphone, Amazon Destinations travel bookings, and the Crucible video game failed to gain the traction they needed. The development of “Crucible” is said to have cost up to 80 million dollars.
Ultimately, those setbacks haven’t stopped Bezos and Amazon from their continued success and growth. Bezos became the first person to have a net worth over $200 billion, according to Forbes.
The lesson to learn from Jeff Bezos: Perseverance is key. In Amazon’s case, success was shaped by a combination of its best failures. This comes from seeing the gold in bad ideas and using it to perfect your model.
Business hasn’t always been good for Milton Hershey, the chocolatier whose brand would come to dominate the American confectionery industry. In fact, success eluded the Candyman for years before he made a name for himself.
Hershey showed an early interest in candy making. At the age of 14 he began as an apprentice to a master confectioner in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Four years later, Hershey borrowed $150 from his aunt to open his own candy store in the heart of the state. But even after five years of hard work, the achievements of his talent have not yet been seen.
What happened next was a transformation. Hershey closed his shop and made his way west to Denver. As a confectioner, he discovered caramel and how to make it from fresh milk.
But the Hershey businessman was not satisfied. Once again he tried to start his own business in Chicago and New York. Once again his ventures failed.
It wasn’t until he returned to Lancaster and founded the Lancaster Caramel Company that Hershey found success. Business flourished.
A new fascination with milk chocolate led Hershey to sell the Lancaster Caramel Company for $1 million in 1900. Three years later, Milton Hershey built a giant chocolate factory and an entire town that went with it. The city of Hershey, Pennsylvania finally opened in 1905 and redefined both chocolate production and the confectionery industry. The rest, as they say, is history.
Milton Hershey teaches us a few lessons about the road to success. First, it takes time to build a business and perfect your products; Hershey moved from confectionery to caramel to chocolate before founding the brand we know and love today. Second, your audience is key and could determine your success. Maybe the folks in Lancaster had a sweeter tooth than those in Chicago and New York. These are both aspects you should consider when building a brand.
Media, Hotels, Flights, Wine, Fitness and even Space; There doesn’t seem to be much Richard Branson’s Virgin can’t do. But while the man and brand have found success in numerous industries, there have been some failures along the way.
Virgin Airlines is a go-to choice for many holidaymakers, but did you know the business nearly collapsed before it started? During the first test flight of Virgin’s only aircraft, a flock of birds flew into the engine, causing damage. Without a working aircraft, the airline could not be certified to carry passengers. Without certification, Virgin could not raise the money to repair the plane.
Branson remained positive, quickly reorganizing his businesses, siphoning money from other ventures and having the aircraft repaired. Virgin Airlines quickly became the success we know today.
Virgin Airlines isn’t the only near miss for Branson. Other ventures have failed; His Coke company fizzled out, his car sales website faltered, and his wedding dress business was left at the altar.
Branson has had his fair share of failures, but his successes outweigh them tenfold. The important lesson to learn from Branson: Sometimes bad luck can happen. You may meet your own flock of birds (metaphorically at least), but decisive action and quick thinking can often help you get out of these sticky situations.
4. Colonel Sanders
Mouth-watering as soon as you think of the finger-licking taste of KFC. But Colonel Sanders is the one who gives us a taste of business acumen and endurance. The Colonel proves that there is no age limit to chasing your dreams and that they can come true at any time.
The late growth of Sanders’ business means he became a billionaire by the age of 88.
In his 40s, Sanders opened a coffee shop on a major freeway. However, when a new highway was built, customers disappeared, along with his business. Fired from numerous other jobs, he was penniless at 65. Back then he took his chicken recipe with him on the street.
He’s cooked his chicken on the spot, convinced restaurant owners to sell his food and it’s incredible to learn now that he’s been turned down 1,009 times. Today, KFC has 18,000 venues around the world.
The lesson you need to learn here is simple: your age doesn’t matter. And when you have a good idea, it can take time for it to be picked up. Just keep going and show your strength and resilience.
5. Vera Wang
Vera Wang aspired to become a figure skater in the Olympics. However, the budding fashion figurehead changed directions after the 1968 US Figure Skating Championships, where she placed fifth.
While studying in Paris, Wang was drawn to fashion. After her return to the USA, the ambitious woman secured a position in sales at Yves Saint Laurent. There she met Frances Stein, who was fashion editor at Vogue at the time. Wang was so impressive that she was hired by Vogue and promoted to senior fashion editor within a year. She was only 23.
However, after 17 years at Vogue, she missed out on the post of editor-in-chief. At 40, Wang took on a role as design director for Ralph Lauren.
In 1989, Wang was engaged, but frustrated by the lack of wedding dresses, she designed her own dress. This later led to opening her own bridal boutique on Madison Avenue in New York. Today, Wang is considered one of the most iconic designers of wedding dresses in the world.
Vera Wang can teach us many lessons about how to lead life in the right direction. Find what you’re passionate about, work hard and create your own opportunities.
6. Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs is synonymous with Apple’s success. As a visionary of personal computing and cellphone technology, it comes as a surprise that this entrepreneur momentarily missed out on a slice of the apple pie. However, it can be argued that Jobs’ failure was Apple’s salvation.
Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne founded Apple in 1976 and enjoyed success with personal computers over the next decade. You may remember the turning point ad “1984” that celebrated the release of the first Macintosh.
But just a year later, Jobs was ousted from the company by the board of directors due to his perceived inexperience. Jobs was forced to resign when CEO Jon Sculley felt Apple needed to reorganize and change gears. It was a famous exit.
Jobs continued his vision and focused on user-friendly products and technologies. He then founded NeXT, a company that designed and built high-end workstations for use in science. The platform is the same on which Tim Berners-Lee developed the World Wide Web.
With Apple failing to sell using overpriced and overly complicated technology, Jobs returned and ensured his survival and legacy. Although NeXT didn’t achieve the same sales figures as Apple, it demonstrated its commitment and technological ambition.
The fall and rise of Steve Jobs shows that understanding your audience and your potential is crucial. When life gave Steve lemons, he made lemonade. When he got Apple, he made the most valuable company in the world.
Most companies are not born great, they take time, care and the odd failure before they overcome their challenges. Profiling these business titans shows us that growing your business can be difficult, but with spirit, perseverance and conviction, scaling your business is more than doable. Use the tools at your disposal to be successful. Remember: everyone fails. But the people who fail the most succeed.
https://techround.co.uk/guides/6-business-leaders-you-didnt-know-failed-before-succeeding/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=6-business-leaders-you-didnt-know-failed-before-succeeding 6 Leaders You Didn’t Know Failed Before Success