If you’re in business, building your own company, developing an idea, shaking up an industry or sector, it may seem a lonely and daunting venture. You may find yourself wondering; ‘Who are the best business authors?’. Finding compelling stories of those who have done this, or in some cases are still doing it, can be both motivational and reassuring. We have produced a list of ten business people or businesses we think you might enjoy while you lay next to the pool this summer.
Please, if nothing else, just look this guy up online, it will reframe pretty much everything you might have been taught about business. In a nutshell, this is a man who has made fortunes from getting a book sponsored before even writing a word, making over $1 million dollars from wearing t-shirts and simply running hard with any idea. His value seems to be in demonstrating that you can do just about anything you can imagine (within reason!) if you get your idea and just do it, provided you have a work ethic and persistence. It’s the nature of his belief that there are no rules when it comes to ideas that makes him fit into this category.
Sheila Lirio Marcelo
Sheila was born and raised in the Philippines, but her family relocated to the US in 1977. In 2006, she founded Care.com and it quickly became the world’s largest online destination for finding and managing family care, with 22 million members in 19 countries. This came out of her own experience of trying to find care solutions and options for her family. Frustrated by her experiences she decided to do something about it. Care.com allows families to search for, connect with and select caregivers in a low-cost reliable way and has positively transformed the lives of millions of people.
As the founder of Amazon, Jeff not only revolutionised the world of online shopping, but he completely changed online everything. And he continues to do so to this day, stretching his ambitions to space, online entertainment and revolutionising the delivery of products, similar to Henry Ford a century earlier. The Everything Store is a good book to read to find out more about his story.
It may be a little presumptuous of us to include ourselves in this list, but we like to think there are few businesses local to Cardiff that have the spirited and fast-moving journey that we have enjoyed, to date, at Penguin Wealth. Starting with just one adviser and an assistant in a small room, we have built up to become one of South Wales leading firms, innovating along the way, in a sector – financial planning – which is not renowned for such things. Our books The Wealth Secret and The Business Secret are part of our different approach and hopefully, provide a great example of the way we aim to stand out from the rest in providing a completely different experience for our clients.
The Under 30
We feel Sophia is the best candidate to fit this description. As a young girl in a bit of a mess, thieving and lacking any direction in life, she channelled her energies and from nowhere created a multi-million dollar fashion business. At the age of 22 she was in a dead end job, but decided to start selling vintage clothing through eBay which led to her forming a brand called Nasty Gal, which just sprouted wings Just eight years later, it was one of America’s biggest fashion brands employing around 350 people.
The Over 50
The man who built McDonald’s into a worldwide business. He was not the founder, despite this often being attributed to him because the original restaurant was well-established before Kroc. A struggling Ice Cream salesman, he tripped over it when he received his biggest order for an ice cream machine. What is remarkable is the fact he was well past 50 when he spotted the opportunity to put a McDonalds on every main street across America and beyond. His story is now a film and there are countless books on his life. He proved that it’s never too late to achieve your success, even if it takes many false dawns along the way.
The Serial Entrepreneur
Really no-one fitted this better, Perhaps for no other reason than the range and diversity of the sectors he has ventured into. A great lesson is his approach to success and failure. It is well-known that he has had just as many (if not more) of the latter than the former, but like all great entrepreneurs, he sees no great difference between the two. If ever you were in doubt about the value of setting big goals, Branson is the epitome of why this works.
Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia
This is Airbnb, for the simple fact that they built a business (rapidly, albeit with a tough start) using the proof of concept basis to establish themselves. Few businesses do this and this strategy works all the time, even for established businesses looking to develop new strands or projects, seeking new markets or expanding existing markets. Too often planning dominates the strategic thinking, whereas – especially in today’s business world – there is ample evidence that the best way to try anything is to get into the market and just do it.
Paul developed Ella’s Kitchen in the UK based on a frustration around the lack of good baby foods he was able to source for his young children. But his business did not stop at inventing alternatives which were nutritionally sound, he actively developed the business to campaign for improved nutrition and in particular the importance of using organic food for babies and toddlers. He focused not just on his business but the wider cause, wanting to make an impact on society. Whilst the success may not have come solely from this aspect, it contributed and, more importantly, as a business owner, he elevated his quest way beyond merely trying to do well or make money.
The Endurance Master
Tom Watson Sr.
If there is one attribute all business owners need more than any other it is persistence. Tom Watson Sr. (IBM’s Founder) said, “If you want to succeed, double your failure rate.” One of the best examples of persistence eventually winning out is reading the story of Walt Disney. He endured huge failure in his early business life, which included having to deal with astronomical debt, bankruptcy and even the theft of his rights over his early character creations. Even after his success with Mickey Mouse and the animated films that followed, he was often struggling to deal with his growing business but constantly persevered and against all the odds, built his first theme park. The rest, as they say, is history.