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Expanding Your View: Business Leaders
We Can All Learn From

By Jade C. Pulman

Starting and running a business can be a very trying time for any individual, no matter what a person's level of experience. So many puzzle pieces have to fall into place in order to turn your dreams into reality, at times the challenges you face can feel almost insurmountable.

Fortunately for us, there are plenty of forerunners who paved the way to success by learning the same lessons and overcoming adversity to rise to success. We can learn from their stories and mistakes, knowing that we are not alone in our challenges. If we commit to going the distance and perhaps modeling our business moves after these leaders, we will find that our mountains move as well. Here are their stories, and the lessons that we can take away from their failures and successes...

  1. Akito Morita—Sony Corporation
    The founder of the Sony Corporation, Akito Morita, created a product that first failed miserably. When his revolutionary rice cooker failed to cook rice properly, he dug down deep and decided to expand his product line. Fortunately for us, that turned out well. Sony has been an institution in the American marketplace for years now, consistently putting out high-quality electronics found in almost every American home.
  2. Bill Gates—Microsoft
    Bill Gates started a business while he was still attending Harvard. Traf-O-Data did not take off, however, and he searched for other ways to incorporate his passion for computers and technology into the business world. Microsoft was born.
  3. Colonel Sanders—Kentucky Fried Chicken
    Who doesn't love some good old fashioned fried chicken? Colonel Sanders' secret blend of herbs and spices was rejected over 1000 times before someone gave it the credit that he deserved. His dreams were not in vain, he founded Kentucky Fried Chicken when he was 65 years old.
  4. Evan Williams—Twitter
    Evan Williams tried to break into the podcasting business with a company called Odeo, but iTunes and Apple edged him out when they announced that they would be going in this direction as well. With Odeo now obsolete, he co-founded the social media giant known as Twitter, and the rest is history.
  5. Frank Winfield Woolworth—Woolworths, Foot Locker
    Frank started his retail career as a stock boy in a five-and-dime store, where his boss had placed him because "he didn't have enough common sense to wait on customers". Despite his boss's complete lack of faith in him, he went on to create one of the largest convenience store chains in the world, one that Walmart and Footlocker currently model their business plan after. Good job, Frank!
  6. Fred Smith—FedEx
    Smith came up with the concept of an "overnight package delivery service that would provide the ultimate in convenience to its customers" when he was still at Yale. This business concept was for a class project, and he was laughed at as he received a failing grade for his efforts. Needless to say, he went on to create FedEx. Who's laughing now?
  7. James Philip—Auto Parts Plus
    James Philip has built an empire on making car care affordable and convenient. At Auto Parts Plus, you will find great products at reasonable prices, making your downtime a little less inconvenient. In addition, you have the peace of mind that his solid business sense puts the right products in people's hands for automotive care. He didn't listen to naysayers as he set up his business; he had a passion and a belief behind what he was doing, and it paid off.

No matter what challenge you are facing, or what tasks seem insurmountable in the face of day to day operations, keep your nose to the grindstone and your passion for what you are doing aflame in your heart. You will, with consistent steps, reach your goals and realize your dreams. Learn from those who have gone before you, and know that success lies within your reach. Go for it!

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