Frederick W. Smith
Do you know who he is? Probably not. He is the guy who started FedEx. While attending Yale, Fred wrote a paper for an economics class, outlining overnight delivery service in a computer information age. Fast forward many years he receives an inheritance of around 4Million. He starts Federal Express where 24 cities used his services. In the early days of FedEx, Smith had to go to great lengths to keep the company afloat. In one instance, he took the company's last $5,000 to Las Vegas and made enough gambling on blackjack to cover the company's $24,000 fuel bill. Taking that rise literally fueled his company to stay in business.
Tony is the CEO of Zappos. When Zappos was starting off Tony would literally go to a shoe store, buy a pair of shoes, take a picture of them and post them on the Zappos website. When someone would purchase those shoes he would go back to the store and purchase the correct size the customer wants and ship those to the customer. That was in 2000. By 2009, revenues reached $1 billion.
Creator of SPANX. Sara spent two years and $5,000 she had set aside in her savings researching hosiery patents and visiting craft stores to find the right material for her product. Eventually coming upon a solution, she wrote her own patent from a Barnes & Noble textbook and incorporated her company under the name Spanx. She successfully pitched her idea to Neiman-Marcus by personally taking the buyer to the ladies restroom to show her the benefits of Spanx in person. She handled all aspects of the business from marketing, logistics, and product positioning.(Hummm like me:) In November 2000, Oprah Winfrey named Spanx her favorite product of the year and sales took off; When they came to her home town to tape them for the show, Oprah wanted to show her and her staff in a meeting. Since she had no staff she called all her friends and the lady who worked at the post office to come to her apartment and act like they were having a meeting. They all sat criss-cross on the floor while Oprah's people taped them. After that, Spanx had $4 million in sales in its first year and $10 million in sales in its second year.
If you are an entrepreneur and struggling to get your idea off the ground, I hope these stories make you feel someone better and puts things in perspective. One thing I know for sure. EVERY entrepreneur struggles, questions their business, and at some point feels defeated, I know I sure have. I just try to put one foot in front of the other and not loose hope or faith in myself. Failure in my mind, is just simply not an option.