Many times in our youth, our folks have advised us to “make good decisions.” Those words have probably echoed far into your minds even after you’ve grown and started building your life and career.
And if you’re a company founder looking to build your own business empire, revisiting and re-embracing this principle becomes paramount.
No matter how times change, fundamental decision-making skills will always lead you to better outcomes.
Don’t believe me? Well, why not enlist the assistance of history, once again?
Behold… the 9 WISEST business decisions in history…
#1 George Lucas Takes a Massive Pay Cut for Star Wars
As hard as it is to believe, A-list filmmaker George Lucas’ wonder baby, Star Wars, was plagued with uncertainty during the production of its first installment, A New Hope, in 1977.
Aside from various production issues relating to technology and resources, the film’s distributor, 20th Century Fox, had little faith in its success.
However, George Lucas refused to yield to the naysayers. And so he decided to give up HALF A MILLION DOLLARS of his paycheck to own Star Wars’ merchandising and sequel rights.
Sure, it was a risky––and arguably foolish––decision at the time, but maintaining product faith is a fundamental obligation of all creators. And George Lucas was smart enough to do just that.
Because, as we now know, Star Wars would go on to become a bona fide pop culture giant.
#2 Steve Jobs Turns Apple Into a Consumer Products Company
We all know Apple as the most dominant multinational technology company today. But did you know that its success would’ve been impossible without one game-changing decision its late co-founder, Steve Jobs, made in 1997?
12 years after he was fired in 1985, Steve Jobs found his way back into Apple after the company bought NeXT, Inc.––a new tech company he founded during his exodus.
Upon seeing the stagnancy in Apple’s plans for growth and innovation, Jobs decided to overhaul the company’s business model and extend its product focus from personal computers to other electronic devices.
This revolutionary move would go on to pave the way for Apple’s long line of iconic products, starting with the iPod.
#3 Henry Ford Increases Employee Wages
Workforce morale is everything in a company that aims to boost its growth and profitability. Certified industrialist and Ford Motor Company founder, Henry Ford, took this principle to heart, and it’s what led him to make one of the smartest business decisions in history.
The year was 1914, a time when the average daily wage for blue-collar factory workers was down in the dumps.
What did good old Henry Ford do? Well, he decided to offer a $5 daily employee wage, ultimately attracting thousands to apply for a job in his up-and-coming car factory.
#4 Larry Page and Sergey Brin Launch Google’s Adwords Service
Before Google became a certified multi-billion dollar tech giant, its early beginnings were far from pleasant.
During the 90s, Google was struggling to generate sales, prompting its founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, to embark on a failed attempt to sell the company to big-time companies like Yahoo and Excite.
After being rejected, Page and Brin decided to make the best out of the situation and focused on innovating their search engine.
And they did so by implementing a keyword-based advertising platform, which would come to be known as Google’s AdWords.
This revolutionary feature would go on to catapult Google’s eventual rise to power.
#5 Mark Zuckerberg Refuses to Sell Facebook to Yahoo
In 2006, a then 2-year-old Facebook was steadily making waves despite only earning around $20 million in revenue and having only 9 million users. Their early success caught the attention of many larger companies. And it wouldn’t take long until offers to purchase Facebook were made.
One of the companies that made a bid? YAHOO.
The offer? $1 BILLION.
Although most of Facebook’s board members were tempted to take the offer, Zuckerberg remained unfazed. Well aware of his company’s tremendous potential, he wasn’t willing to have someone else lead the charge in its growth. After all, he already had a wealth of plans lined up to make the dream happen.
With Zuckerberg’s refusal to sell Facebook, he secured his and his company’s long-term fortune.
#6 Samsung Introduces a Sabbatical Program
One of the reasons why Samsung earned and sustained its niche as a global electronics company is the tremendous value it places on investing in its employees’ GROWTH and DEVELOPMENT.
In the hopes of cultivating the skills and talents of its workforce, Samsung decided to implement a 1-2 year self-management overseas training or sabbatical program in the 1990s.
This sabbatical program was designed to help its employees broaden their skills by sending them overseas to learn from different cultures and pursue further education in engineering, marketing, and management among others.
#7 Bill Gates Licenses the MS-DOS OS to IBM
Bill Gates became one of the wealthiest global personalities in history not only because of his ingenious and innovative tech contributions through Microsoft. He earned his status also because of his savvy business decision-making skills.
In 1960, IBM was looking to develop its first personal computer. They turned to Bill Gates and Microsoft in the hopes of purchasing a functional operating system. Unfortunately, Microsoft was still a young company at the time and didn’t have an OS for sale yet.
Fortunately, Gates had his eyes on Seattle Computer Products’ QDOS operating system and decided to purchase it.
But rather than sell it outright to IBM, sly old Gates decided to rebrand the OS as MS-DOS and license it to IBM instead.
This move allowed Gates and Microsoft to retain ownership of the OS and license it to other companies as well!
#8 Walmart Embraces ”Saturday Morning Meetings”
Without internal communication, company cohesion would be impossible. This is the very principle that pushed Sam Walton, prominent business mogul, and Walmart’s late founder, to make a game-changing decision that would lead the company to greener pastures.
The year was 1962, and Walmart was but a small-town variety store finding its niche in the business landscape. Sam Walton decided to implement “Saturday Morning Meetings”: a weekly gathering that would eventually become a fixture in the company’s traditions.
Its purpose? To sit down with the company’s associates and employees and discuss the workings surrounding the company in the previous week.
From identifying the top-selling products to resolving urgent operational problems, these meetings allowed the company to stay on top of its deliverables and stay focused on its goals.
#9 Toyota Doubles Down on Producing Quality Vehicles
In the 1950s, the long-time Japanese car manufacturer Toyota was on the cusp of breaching the American Market with the Toyopet Crown––their first-ever full-scale passenger vehicle. Unfortunately, it was a flop. The vehicle was too pricey and wasn’t aligned with the preferences and needs of the American market.
Realizing their mistake, Toyota breached the American market again in 1965 with a vehicle more suited to their market’s needs––the Toyota Corona.
Long story short, it was a hit!
Build a Lasting Legacy
Building a successful company gives you the opportunity to build a lasting legacy.
If you wish to reach that ever-coveted goal, take a lesson from these companies and start making the best possible business decisions. Need a guide to help you make the best decisions? Go here to get the 6 steps to making great business decisions.