Huge success requires risk-taking, a well-conceived plan, and the guts to ask for something that may seem outrageous.
Here are my best business deals ever, and three great business decisions that led to three of the most successful companies ever.
Microsoft and MS-DOS
I loved Asim Oureshi’s Quora answer regarding Microsoft. The firm was hired by IBM to create an operating system that was ultimately called IBM PC-DOS. Bill Gates, the young CEO of Microsoft, insists that his firm have the right to license the operating software to other (non-IBM) firms, and IBM agrees.
Asim points out that Microsoft has licensed MS-DOS to over 1.4 billion PCs to date.
If you’re interested in Bill Gates, Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers is fascinating, because he explains how timing made such a difference in Gate’s career. He happened enter high school just as the computer was in development, and the University of Washington (a major computer research hub) was across the street from his high school. Gates worked crazy hours- but was also in the right place, at the right age- at the right time.
Spirits of St. Louis
I’m a native to St. Louis, so I loved James Krewson’s Quora answer regarding the Spirits of St. Louis (get the Charles Lindbergh reference?)
The “Spirits”, as they’re still referred to in St. Louis, were a St. Louis-based ABA basketball team that was left out of the 1976 merger between the ABA and the NBA. The owners, the Silna family negotiated that 1/7th of the TV revenue from the four other ABA team that were part of the merger must be paid to them as long as the NBA existed(!)
The Silvas have earned $300 million as of 2014. The NBA, not surprisingly, has been negotiating to buyout the Silvas.
The Louisiana Purchase, negotiated by President Thomas Jefferson in 1803, allowed the US to purchase 827,000 square miles of land west of the Mississippi river for $15 million. Of course, the land had to be explored, which led to the Lewis and Clark Expedition. If you’re interested in learning about that amazing journey, read Undaunted Courage.
Great business decisions
The Forbes article touches on the great business decision by some of American’s great CEOs. I liked these three, in particular:
- Sam Walton/ Wal-Mart: Held Saturday morning all-employee meetings that built a culture of innovation and decision-making. He empowered his staff to make decisions. Message: Get out of your smart worker’s way- let them succeed.
- Steve Jobs/ Apple: Apple’s board of directors decide to hire back Steve Jobs after firing him a decade earlier. In the interim, the company’s innovation had stalled and Apple was in serious financial trouble. Message: Don’t be afraid to make an unconventional decision to improve your business.
- Henry Ford/ Ford Motor: Ford’s decision to double the wages of his workers to attract talent- and create a class of workers who could buy his cars. Message: Don’t forget that consumer spending largely drives our economy.
Educate yourself, so that you can make an informed business deal.
Ken Boyd is the Co-Founder of AccountingEd.com and owns St. Louis Test Preparation (accountingaccidentally.com). He provides blogs, articles and speaking services on accounting and finance topics. Ken is the author of Cost Accounting for Dummies, Accounting All-In-One for Dummies, The CPA Exam for Dummies and 1,001 Accounting Questions for Dummies. Ken is a contributing writer for The Logical Entreprenuer.com, Investopedia.com and the Magoosh.com CPA Blog. His YouTube channel (kenboydstl) has over 420 videos.
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