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Lesson #4: Use Failure As A Catalyst for Success
During his time as an ambulance driver for the Red Cross towards the end of World War I, Kroc met a fellow young and ambitious entrepreneur by the name of Walt Disney. When Kroc first began selling McDonald’s franchises around the country, he remembered Disney and sent him a letter in 1954. Disneyland was still under construction at the time, but anticipation about its prospects was great, and Kroc sensed an opportunity.
“Dear Walt,” he began. “I feel somewhat presumptuous addressing you in this way. Yet I am sure you would not want me to address you any other way…I have very recently taken over the national franchise of the McDonald’s system. I would like to inquire if there may be an opportunity for a McDonald’s in your Disneyland Development.”
An agreement with Disney would have been a significant boon to Kroc’s growing business but, for whatever reasons, Kroc never received a reply from his old army pal. Kroc could have become disheartened and lost faith in his goals. Instead, Kroc chose to remain undeterred and continued approaching other franchisors across the country. Crisscrossing the U.S., Kroc carried on planting McDonald’s restaurants wherever he could. Yes, he was turned down by what would have been one of his biggest franchisors to date, but Kroc didn’t let that stand in his way.
Kroc’s failures weren’t just limited to his early on in his career. Even after McDonald’s had become a global empire and one of the most successful giants in the fast food industry, Kroc continued to come face to face with brick walls. The entrepreneur that he is, Kroc’s desire to take risks and innovate didn’t decrease with the success that he had already achieved. Instead, he continued to try new things in order to take his company to even greater heights. From upscale hamburger restaurants to German-tavern restaurants to pie shops and even other theme parks, Kroc’s endeavours were often met with dismal results.
What kept Kroc going even throughout the most disappointing of failures? How did he bounce back from the twists of fate that could have just as easily ended his career? With his keen sense of future trends, Kroc had a strong belief in himself and his vision. And, he wasn’t doing it for the money: “If you work just for money, you'll never make it, but if you love what you're doing and you always put the customer first, success will be yours,” said Kroc. “All money means to me is a pride in accomplishment.”
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By: Evan Carmichael
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