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Raymond Kroc And The McDonald’s Journey

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Red tiles, neon lights and yellow sign boards. Big juicy burgers and sweet milkshakes. An ice cream cone oozing deliciousness and sprinkled with a flavour like never before. A bad work day instantly made better with a Big Happy Meal or a craving satiated with a Maharaja Mac on a broke wallet. Today, all these things are widely synonymous with McDonald’s as a brand and while the food chain may have had a rocky start, it has an inspiring journey.

The beginning of McDonald’s

Raymond Kroc, a salesman with 34 years of experience to his name, saw how the McDonald brothers were changing the burger game one milkshake at a time. As a milkshake salesman, one of Ray’s routine involved visiting the people to whom he sold  Multi Mixers. When he met two of his biggest clients, Richard and Maurice McDonald, life as he knew it was never the same. Realising he had the opportunity of turning something as homely and delicious as a hamburger into a phenomenon, Ray knew he had to capitalize on the idea.

While most of Ray’s regular customers bought only one or two Multi Mixers at a time, the McDonald brothers bought 8! Why? To make 40 milkshakes at a time so they could give their customers a regular supply of milkshakes and burgers. Looking at people lining up in queues outside the golden arches way into the dusky evenings, Ray realised the McDonald brothers had a booming business on their hands. Watching the many workers in crisp white hats and ironed uniforms scurrying around and serving burgers and fries with perfect precision, Kroc  instantly saw why McDonald’s as a franchise was an idea into which he just had to tap.

By 1954, a 52 year old Ray Kroc and the McDonald brothers embarked on the journey of shaping and revolutionizing the way the fast food industry in itself worked. Using consistency and discipline as the key ingredients, Ray created a recipe for success, the likes of which we haven’t seen replicated. The first McDonald’s restaurant Ray saw was like a perfectly tuned factory, with all the workers and chefs humming around in sync.

By investing all his savings and more money than he could put into the business, Kroc joined hands with the McDonald brothers and set about creating history. Despite the resistance he received from the brothers as well as the rest of his friends and family, Kroc started working at putting his  sales experience to good use! The brothers finally agreed to Ray’s deal. The brothers sold Ray the franchises for the low price of $ 950. In exchange, he would keep 1.4 % of all sales and give 0.5 % back to the brothers. With the existing franchisees only giving such a meager percentage of total sales, the corporate parent made very little money.

Picture credit: succeedfeed.com

The growth of McDonald’s as a business

Once the deal was struck and written in stone, Kroc set about working on how to turn this food chain into a brand. The first McDonald’s franchise opened in 1955 as an experimental model, just outside Chicago in Des Plaines, Illinois. Although this first store started churning out more than enough profit in the beginning, Ray knew that in order to start making an impact, he had to enforce more order than there already was. Everything in making and delivering burgers had a certain sense of science to it and using this formula, Kroc grew McDonald’s to  greater heights. However, the speed with which Kroc was growing was quite different from what the partners had agreed to when they signed the deal. Realising Kroc was changing the way the business was running, the McDonald brothers had no choice but to bow out and leave Ray alone.

Although the move came as a disruptive thought process for Kroc, the end goal was always in sight. With dedication and an eye on perfection, Kroc built his business up so much that by 1960, there were more than 200 stores across the Midwest, the  central parts of the United States. Squashing all his customers one delicious burger and tempting meal at a time, Kroc quite literally perfected the way the fast food industry worked not just in the United States, but all over the world as well!

Picture credit: newsweek.com

The largest food chain in the world

With all the different advertising and marketing tactics McDonald’s used, the brand started growing to phenomenal heights. By the year 1970, it was the single largest food chain in all of the United States. Picking up speed not just in the United States, McDonald’s as a brand first started spreading to Europe and then to other parts of the world.

While the taste of the food is the same in all the branches, the menu has been tweaked to suit the tastes of the people in places outside the United States. For example, in India, the menu reflects dishes which have been curated for the Indian palate and in Germany, McDonald’s started serving beer in the 1970s!

Picture credits: gonebrakscity.com

Today, with over 36,000 restaurants, McDonald’s  serves 69 billion orders on a regular basis. Easily one of the most popular food chains the world over, there is no meal that is a Happier Meal happier meal than a McDonald’s one!

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Ratan Tata Unknown Facts

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Chairman emeritus of the Tata Group, Ratan Tata is arguably one of the most successful people of India.  During his 21 year career, he transformed Tata Group from a national brand to an international brand with his impeccable business skills.

Here is a list of some lesser known facts about the 81 year old industrialist:

1) Though he was born in an affluent household, Ratan Tata had a troubled childhood. His parents, Naval Hormusji Tata and Sooni Tata, separated when he was just 7 years old.  Post the separation, his brother and he were raised by their grandmother.

2)  Ratan Tata has a degree in architecture from Cornell University and he even pursued an advanced management program from Harvard Business School.

 

3) When Ratan Tata first started his career at Tata Steel, his job was to manage the blast furnace and shovel limestone.  It was only in 1991 he became the Chairperson.

 

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4) Ratan Tata is an avid car lover and does not refrain himself from spending on cars.  His car collection includes Maserati Quattroporte, Chrysler Sebring, Ferrari California, Mercedes Benz S-Class and Jaguar F-Type.

 

5) Not many people know Ratan Tata is a trained pilot.  He owns a pilot’s license and is often seen flying aircrafts owned by the Tata Group.  He was also the first Indian to fly the F-16 Falcon in 2007.

6) In 1999, Ratan Tata and his team went to Ford to sell their emerging car business and were humiliated by Bill Ford who said, “You do not know anything, why did you start the passenger car division at all.”  Nine years later, Ratan Tata got his sweet revenge when he took over Ford’s ace car brands, Jaguar and Land Rover, for half the price.

 

7) Ratan Tata received the third and second highest civilian awards, Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan in 2000 and 2008 respectively.  In 2009, the United Kingdom honoured him with the Honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire.

8) Ratan Tata is not included in the world’s richest as he owns most of his shares through trusts and foundations.  If all those shares are accounted, his net worth would be $ 72 billion.

 

9) By his own admission, Ratan Tata came close to marriage 4 times in his life, but backed off each time either due to fear or another reason.

10) Ratan Tata donates millions to education every year.  One particular year, he donated $ 50 million to Harvard University and $25 million to Cornell University, especially for the Indian students studying at the two universities.

 

Fighting all the hurdles that came his way, today Ratan Tata is the king of the corporate world.  Thank you, Mr. Tata, for being an inspiration to an entire Nation.

 

Comment below and let us know which of these facts surprised you the most.

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5 Essential Skills Required To Be A Successful Entrepreneur

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All the high net worth individuals in the world are where they are because they developed a certain skill set, which in turn helped them to reach their goals.  Mere knowledge of your niche area won’t help you become a successful entrepreneur. While you need patience to run a business, you also need to focus on developing some critical skills which not only help you run your business but also can help you solve any problems that might arise in your entrepreneurial journey.

Here is a list of 5 skills you should start developing if you aspire to become a successful entrepreneur.

 

1) Creativity

As an entrepreneur, you will face new problems every day and for entrepreneurs, creativity isn’t just about coming up with new ideas, it is about being able to adapt to new situations quickly and finding solutions for problems as and when they arise. You will also have to constantly improve and upgrade your products and services to stay alive in the market. Therefore, creativity is the most essential skill an entrepreneur should possess.  

The brand Apple is synonymous with creativity, thanks to the genius Steve Jobs. When the iPhone initially launched, critics came up with a 100 reasons as to why it would fail and it almost did. With his creativity, Steve Jobs kept upgrading the product and today, it is the best selling smartphone in the world.  Steve Jobs’ creativity was the driving force behind Apple’s product design and marketing.

 

2) Communication

Every entrepreneur needs to be an effective communicator. It is essential for entrepreneurs to be able to communicate with employees, customers, investors, peers and mentors. One simply cannot manage a great team or  provide a great customer service if one is not an effective communicator. Irrespective of whether a person runs a startup or a Fortune 500 company, communication is the key skill that he must develop.

Billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson who himself is a student of communication, calls it “an art”.

 

3) Salesmanship

As an entrepreneur you should be able to sell sand in the desert.

Salesmanship is one such skill without which, it is nearly impossible to succeed as an entrepreneur. The soft skill of sales goes hand- in -hand with communication and is key to run a successful business.  An entrepreneur should be able to sell the business idea to investors, their products and services to customers.

Salesmanship plays a key role in building trust between the company and the customer.

Mark Cuban, an American businessman, investor and the owner of National Basketball Association often emphasises that salesmanship is the skill that made him millions. When asked what he would do if he lost it all, he replied saying that he would pick up a sales job and was pretty sure that this could make him a multi-millionaire again.

 

4) Money Management

If you cannot manage money, you cannot manage a business. Period!

Financial management is the most important responsibility of an entrepreneur, especially in the startup stage. Knowing your cash flow can make planning and budgeting for financial needs easier. This is a key skill to develop if you are aiming to be a successful entrepreneur.

Elon Musk, the 46 year old CEO of SpaceX and Tesla often states that he does not spend his $ 20 billion fortune on lavish vacations or expensive hobbies. Instead, he invests his profits back into his business for its development.

 

5)  Ability to find and manage people

Having great people on your team will make life much easier for you. It gives you access to new strengths while building a company culture of which people would want to be a part.  Hiring the right people is key to building a successful company. Along with hiring the right people, an entrepreneur should be able to manage them efficiently. He should be able to assign the right kind of tasks to people considering their strengths and weaknesses.

The world’s richest man, Jeff Bezos follows a three question method of hiring people for his company.  

  1. Will you admire this person?
  2. Will this person raise the average level of effectiveness of the group they’re entering?
  3. Along what dimension might this person be a superstar?

Only when he is satisfied with these answers, will that person work for him.

Being an entrepreneur is a complicated task and your success as an entrepreneur is the result of the small actions taken over a period of time.

If you notice you are lacking a skill or two, focus on nurturing those skills today so you might be able to enjoy success tomorrow.

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Reasons Why Businesses Fail

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According to Bloomberg, 8 out of 10 business fail within the first 18 months of their inception and the sad reality is, almost all the businesses fail because of the entrepreneurs who handle it.  While there are a multitude of conditions which could lead to a business failure, most startups which fail, make similar mistakes.  Here is a list of the top 5 reasons why businesses fail.

 

1) Starting a business for the wrong reasons

Most people start a business with a desire to earn a lot of money.  While this is a benefit successful entrepreneurs achieve after years of hard work, starting a business for money is not the right entrepreneurial mindset.  The driving force for your business should be your passion, not your desire for money. Entrepreneurship requires a lot of dedication, hard work and patience and if you lack passion, you will most likely lose interest in a few years and eventually end up failing.

 

2) Lack of proper planning

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Planning is an important part of running a business.  If you do not work according to a proper plan, your business is most likely to fail.  A good plan consists of definite short term and long term goals and will also define where your company will be in the next few years.  Lack of such proper planning will cause irreparable damage to your business.

 

3) Lack of funds

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The most common reason why startups fail is the lack of proper funds.  Budding business owners often do not understand money management and are likely to underestimate the amount of money they require to start a business and might even have unrealistic expectations about profits. As a result, the money spent on the business becomes more than the money earned by the business.  This leads to debt and when this debt becomes too much, they are forced to shut it down.

 

4) Lack of value

The heart of any business is the value it creates. The higher your value, the more will be your customer base and the more you will earn.  Your product or service should be more valuable than your competitors’. In other words, your business should be able to offer something new.  If your business lacks value, it is bound to fail.

 

5)  Early expansions

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It is rightly said that slow and steady wins the race.  New entrepreneurs are often in a hurry to expand their business to other markets and this is the leading cause for bankruptcy.  Expanding a business is good, but before you enter new markets, make sure you maximise your existing market. If not, you will most likely be forced to close your business due to bankruptcy.

 

As they say, failures are stepping stones to success and as a business owner, the success of a business mostly lies in your hand. If you ever failed trying to run a business, learn from your mistakes and start over again. Most of the billionaires today are people who once failed.

 

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