Did you see The Founder, with Michael Keaton as businessman Ray Kroc? This is the true, behind-the-scenes story of how Kroc purchased a burger restaurant franchise from the McDonald brothers and built the McDonald’s fast-food chain – what both sides did right, and what they did wrong!
7 Lessons for entrepreneurs from The Founder:
1. Think Big
Ray Kroc thought big: he had big ideas, big dreams and a big ego to match.
2. Write it Down
It’s all in the details: if it’s not written down, then it can’t be enforced. If it is written down and you sign it, there’s no excuse for not knowing.
- The McDonald brothers lost the right to use their own name on their own restaurants.
- A handshake is not the same as a written legal contract, which led to the McDonald’s loss of royalties.
- Ray Kroc’s 1st contract with the McDonald brothers tied his hands: he wasn’t allowed to innovate or make the changes he felt would grow the business.
3. Don’t Give Up
Ray Kroc could have easily given up when his ideas first failed, but he persisted and continued to reinvent his strategies and goals until they did succeed.
4. Keep Innovating
A great idea can be a great success. But a greater idea can be a bigger success. Ray Kroc saw the genius behind the McDonald brother’s assembly line style of hamburger delivery. But Kroc’s continued innovations stripped away the fluff to deliver more consistency at a value price.
5. Choose Your Partners
Surrounding yourself with the right people to advise and carry out your goals is key to success.
- Ray Kroc hired financial expert Harry Sonneborn who told him he was not in the food-service business, he was in the real-estate business – and an empire was born.
- Kroc started out pitching wealthy contacts as franchisees, then realized they didn’t have the drive to succeed matched with the willingness to be led. Kroc then started to recruit franchisees who were willing to hustle and chase his dream to achieve their own dreams.
6. Pay Attention to the Details
No one will ever care about your business more than you do.
- Ray Kroc was focused on success, growth and income, but he never lost sight of his core business model: selling burgers, fries and shakes at a value price.
- Know your customers: introducing lower-cost and lower taste milkshakes didn’t hurt the business: it helped the business grow. His customer base cared less about top quality than they did about good quality, consistency and value.
7. Know When to Fold ‘Em
Persistence is key to success, but knowing when to throw in the towel and move on to the next idea is the mark of a true entrepreneur.
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About Anthony Caliendo
Anthony has discussed his sales strategies on radio and TV on CBS, NBC, ABC and FOX. He has been quoted in industry mags including Salesforce, Small Biz Daily, The Canadian Business Journal, Focus Magazine, TK Business Magazine, AMA Playbook, In Business Magazine, with a spellbinding book review in Digital Journal.
Anthony lives and works in South Florida with his wife, Lynette and their eight children.
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