3 Inspiring Business Stories and the Lessons They Teach Us


3 Inspiring Business Stories and the Lessons They Teach Us

If you’re an entrepreneur or business owner, you are probably familiar with “off days”.

You know. Those days where nothing is working out as planned or you just can’t get yourself motivated to take action.

Sometimes, it just takes good old-fashioned discipline to push through the malaise. Other times, you need a shot of inspiration.

Well consider this post your shot. Just what the doctor ordered.

Today, we’re going to look at three inspiring business stories. Each one deals with real life people facing real life struggles. And each teaches its own unique lesson that entrepreneurs everywhere can find value in.

Jim Herr: Any Obstacle Can Be Overcome

Entrepreneurs need to be prepared to overcome setbacks and push on in the face of adversity. We can’t let an unprofitable quarter dishearten us. Or let a few bad reviews threaten our resolve.

But what if you lost everything that you had spent years building up in a matter of minutes? Would you be able to bounce back?

Well, that’s exactly what happened to Jim Herr, founder of Herr’s Potato Chips.

In 1946, when Herr was just 21 years old, he took out a loan for $1,750 dollars to purchase a small potato chip business. For the next five years, Herr and his wife Mim worked tirelessly to build their company. It wasn’t uncommon for their day to start around 4:00 AM and end after 11:00 PM.

In 1951, though, tragedy struck. Their modest factory went up in flames when cooking oil dripped onto a hot brick. The only thing that survived was a handful of coins.

A lot of people would give up after such a tremendous setback. Not the Herrs, though. They rebuilt their factory on new land, where they are still operating more than 60 years later. 

Today, Herr’s employs 1500 workers and their plant processes one million pounds of potatoes every day. They even keep the handful of charred coins on display as a reminder of the challenges the company overcame to reach the success they enjoy today.

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Ursula Burns: Your Roots Don’t Determine Your Limits

The story of Ursula Burns teaches us that what you start with does not have to set limits on what you can achieve.

If you aren’t familiar with Burns, here are the highlights:

  • From 2009 to 2016, she was the chief executive officer of Xerox.
  • She sits on the board of directors for the transportation company Uber. 
  • She was the first female African American to serve as CEO of a Fortune 500 company.
  • She was rated Forbes’ 22nd most powerful woman in the world in 2014.

All of those are amazing achievements on their own. But they become even more remarkable once you learn about Burns’ roots.

A lot of big names in the business world are born into wealthy families where running a company is regular dinner table talk. They are born and bred to grow wealth from wealth.

Not Burns.

Her roots begin in the housing projects of New York City, where she was raised by a single mother who worked tirelessly to afford her daughter a decent private school education. Her mother ironed clothes and ran a home daycare to give Burns a better future.

And Burns made the most of her mother’s efforts. While some people may see humble beginnings as a condemnation to a humble ending, Burns decided to tell a different story. She may have started her career at Xerox as a mere intern, but she worked her way up the ladder all the way to CEO

Kevin Plank: You’ve Got To Take Risks

You’re probably familiar with Under Armour, the athletic apparel company that brought in more than 5 billion dollars in revenue in 2018. You might be wearing some of their gear right now, in fact.

But you may not be as familiar with the company’s founder, Kevin Plank.

Plank first ran the company out of his grandmother’s home. He stored his inventory in the basement. But the inspiring business story starts before Under Armour was even founded.

Plank was practically broke when he launched the company. He scrimped and saved $20,000 of his own money—and racked up twice that amount in credit card debt—in order to have the funds necessary to start. 

It was no small risk to launch Under Armour, but Plank’s bravado paid off. His big break came when Georgia Tech placed a massive five-figure order that snowballed the budding company’s success. It wasn’t long before NFL teams began ordering Under Armour, and the rest is history.

You Are The Main Character in Your Own Inspiring Business Story

The characters in these three inspiring business stories didn’t have some sort of unique advantage. They didn’t have special privileges that allowed them to succeed where others failed.

They took the hand that life dealt them and made the best of it.

Jim Herr made a decision to keep pushing for his dream despite seeing it go up in flames before his very eyes.

Ursula Burns persevered to achieve a level of success that many would have written off as impossible given her humble beginnings.

Kevin Plank decided to take a risk and run with it to transform a $60,000 investment into a multi-billion dollar business.

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Wherever your story began, you are the main character in it. You are the one who will have the tough decisions to make, the obstacles to overcome, and the victories to win.

So get out there and start telling a pretty darn good story about yourself. And remember to stay Legiit while you’re doing it.

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