Exemplary Business Strategies and their Founders
How entrepreneurs have deployed their ideas to achieve business success and even to push further into the realm of social responsibility? While some examples are obvious, we will also be discussing the essence of these innovations, and how they can be applied to your business.
Henry Ford is deemed by many as the father of the automobile (and also of mass production). As a businessman he was dedicated to lowering the cost of his product without jeopardizing its quality in order to reach the largest possible customer base. His intelligent approach to procurement and his integration of vertical integration allowed Ford in his lifetime to put a dealership in every city in North America, and to introduce welfare capitalism to working class.
Howard Schultz is considered the driving force that turned the Starbucks brand from a small Seattle coffee and exotic tea emporium into the enormous coffee shop giant it is today. Having pleaded with Starbucks founders Baldwin, Bowker and Siegel to become their head of marketing, Schultz took to the shop floor to understand his customer and observed the Baristas in trips to Italy, allowing him to collect evidence to convince the founders of the feasibility of rolling Starbucks out as a huge espresso bar chain. At thirty-four he bought the company outright for $3.4m.
Charles Merrill is remembered for his efforts in wresting away investment from its exclusive Wall Street orientation and demystifying its jargon for to open it to the common man. ‘No more mumbo-jumbo from Harvard men in paneled rooms,’ he said, explaining this ideology; ‘let the stock market’s workings henceforth be intelligible even to the smallest investor.’ Merrill was also one of the first authorities to predict the Wall Street Crash. His opening of the market through educating anyone and everyone in the fundamentals of investment empowered many Americans to become small investors.
Pierre Omidyar is a philanthropist more commonly known as founder of eBay. Begun apparently in order to find other Pez candy dispenser fans for his girlfriend to trade with, we can only in hindsight imagine Omidyar’s reaction when the prototype eBay site became profitable within a year. Omidyar’s business model (receiving a small fee for the innovation of rapidly facilitating trade) is reflected in his philanthropic attitudes; he is reputed to be donating all but 1% of his income to charity, a gleaming example of how lucrative enterprise need not be in conflict with major eCommerce.
Fred Deluca, founder of Subway, set himself a target of opening 32 outlets in 10 years. The first four of these made losses. So he opened more. It wasn’t until the fifteenth store opened that profit was made, though despite this there are now actually more Subway outlets than McDonalds. His is a story of tenacity. He also saw a gap in the market for healthy fast food and quickly deployed a brand which could be rolled out and similarly franchised, his make-your-own fresh sandwich having the opposite brand image of the big yellow M.