Advice from entrepreneurs who've managed to succeed in the cut-throat world of business
There’s nothing people love more than a redemption story and the tech world is full of ‘em.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that some of the best business stories involve entrepreneurs who persevered against all odds. While not an easy thing to do, it can be done with the right product, timing or, most importantly, people by your side.
If you’re looking for a little motivation after a hard day at work or inspiration to fuel your next big idea look no further. From an entrepreneur who spent a decade following his dreams to a founder who was unceremoniously ousted from the startup he co-founded, there’s something that everyone can relate to in our list.
The straight-talking British billionaire may have revolutionized how people clean their homes, but his success didn’t come easy. It took the entrepreneur 15 years to perfect his bagless vacuum cleaner and turn his idea into a reality.
During the time he spent working on his invention, he mostly relied on his wife’s income to make ends meet. He also made a whopping 5,126 prototypes before he was able to create his company’s trademark device, the DC40. While some of his peers mocked his early attempts, Dyson’s commitment never wavered and ultimately paid off.
After his vacuum became a hit in Japan he turned that momentum (and cash influx) into a worldwide success. Since then, his company, Dyson Ltd, has brought in annual revenues of $4.5 billion and now sells a wide range of home appliances around the world.
Lesson: There are no shortcuts when it comes to winning. Find dependable, trustworthy people who believe in you and can help support your vision.
Journalists might now refer to Bill Gates as the ‘Father of the Internet’ but before he found fame, money and success he was just a regular, ol’ entrepreneur struggling to pay his bills.
Gates and his partner, Paul Allen, launched their first software company called Traf-O-Data in the 1970s. It analyzed traffic data and provided analytical reports to local governments for a fee.
The duo’s startup would become obsolete in 1989 when the state of Washington would provide the same service for free. It wasn’t a total loss, though. The entrepreneurs took all the business know-how they learned and software created and apply it to their next company, which they initially called ‘Micro-Soft’.
Lesson: Take all the lessons learned from past failures to use to make future businesses better.
The Huffington Post is one of the most-read online publications around the world and operates international editions in India, Greece, the U.K. and South Africa.
Before its creator, Arianna Huffington, turned the online magazine into the success it is now she faced off against critics who derided its unpaid blogging model and dismissed its editorial content.
After launching in 2005, it took years before it turned a profit and generated enough buzz to sustain itself. But Huffington didn’t let that deter her (or her team). All their hard work eventually paid off, because in 2011 AOL purchased the website (and its related verticals) for $315 million.
Lesson: Focus on your goals and ignore the competition. Success is dependent on finding an untapped resource or avenue and exploiting it.
There’s no greater comeback hero than Steve Jobs. The entrepreneurial genius is just as well known for his failures as he is for his successes.
Early in his career, he was ousted from Apple, the company he helped launch. Later he would return and transform it into one of America’s most influential tech companies. Instead of giving up after being dumped by his company in 1985, he launched a competing startup called NeXt, with a few fellow employees.
Not long afterward, a floundering Apple would go on to acquire his startup and reinstall the notoriously ill-tempered entrepreneur as CEO. Later Jobs would shake up the industry by introducing game-changing technologies like the Macintosh computer, iPod and iPhone.
The rest is, as they say, history.
Lesson: Don’t let professional or personal setbacks deter you from pursuing your entrepreneurial dream. Learn from your mistakes and use them to grow.