A wise little green man named Yoda once said, “Do or do not. There is no try.”
While that’s great advice it’s sometimes easier said than done. Every new entrepreneur needs an education on how to start a small business. With a business administration degree or small business training, you could soon be running your own successful venture. But starting up your own business is both thrilling and terrifying. Before these three business owners earned their millions, failure was a stepping stone to success.
Gambling Saved FedEx
As an undergrad at Yale, Fred Smith’s idea for FedEx earned him a ‘C’ on his paper because it wasn’t “practical”. But Smith didn’t give up and founded Federal Express in the early 1970s. The business struggled. In 1973, FedEx handled a whopping total of (wait for it) 186 packages. Close to bankruptcy, Smith took the remainder of FedEx’s money ($5,000), boarded a plane and flew to sin city Las Vegas. By playing blackjack, Smith made $27,000 which was just enough to pay a fuel bill and operate for another week. Smith was able to acquire more investor money and last year, FedEx made over $400 million.
College dropout Steve Jobs co-founded Apple in 1976 and was fired from Apple in 1985. A power struggle between Jobs and then-CEO John Sculley resulted in a failed boardroom coup and Jobs’ forced resignation from the company. He moved on to work with NeXT and Pixar while Apple released a wave of new products. While the product line was initially popular, consumers were still buying PC computers. Apple’s response of launching too many computer models and its poor marketing strategy failed miserably. Sales dropped and the company blew through two more CEOs. Jobs returned in 1997 and refocused Apple, leading to the global launch of the first iPod.
Mickey Mouse Was a Bad Idea (Or So People Thought)
Once upon a time, someone fired Walt Disney because he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas”. Disney started his own animation company and went bankrupt a few years later. He and his brother took their talents to Hollywood where Disney was told Mickey Mouse was a terrible idea as the image of a mouse onscreen would frighten women. To add to his troubles, he lost his popular character Oswald the Lucky Rabbit when Universal Studios snatched up the rights and secretly hired his animation staff. Ironically, Mickey Mouse surpassed Oswald in popularity and legacy. But the 1939 release of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs pulled the Walt Disney Company out of bankruptcy and ushered in Disney’s golden age of animation.
Knowing how to start and run a business successfully requires education, such as small business training or a business degree. But the important thing to remember is never let the fear of failure keep you from reaching your dreams.
Kyla Ross is an aspiring entrepreneur and a career training and education blogger for Ashworth College. To learn more about business careers, visit http://www.ashworthcollege.edu.