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Tom Monaghan Articles
The Pizza Pope: The Early Years of Tom Monaghan
When Tom Monaghan was a young boy, he wanted to be three things: a shortstop for the Detroit Tigers, a priest, and an architect; founder of a multi-billion dollar pizza company was not on the list. However, that is exactly what Monaghan would become. Since launching Domino’s Pizza in 1960, Monaghan has grown the company into an empire, with over 8,000 locations in more than 54 countries around the world, and sales that exceed $4.6 billion. Nevertheless, the story of Monaghan’s life was not always as sweet as the success he would later achieve.
The Dough Starts Flying: Domino’s Takes Off
“We had no idea what we were doing” recalls Monaghan of his and his brother’s first venture into the pizza business. “We opened up without an attorney. I didn’t even collect sales tax – didn’t know I had to.” Initially, the plan was for the brothers to each work half nights. However, when Monaghan’s brother refused to give up his job as a full-time mailman, Monaghan traded his Volkswagen for his brother’s half of the business.
Lesson #1: You Can Achieve Anything You Set Your Mind To
“I believe everyone on earth has a certain goal/dream in life,” says Monaghan. “I also believe anyone can achieve this if they set their minds to it.” In a self-described “Horatio Alger story”, Monaghan was able overcome the early poverty and tragedy in his life to create one of the greatest success stories in recent American history.
Lesson #2: Don’t Dream About Being Good, Dream About Being the Best!
When he was a young boy, struggling with the loss of his father and the difficulties of life in an orphanage, Monaghan spent his time reading biographies of great men who had come before him. Abraham Lincoln, a poor farm boy from Illinois, had used hard work and determination to become the President of the United States. Why couldn’t he do the same, Monaghan wondered? Or in reading Sears catalogues, Monaghan would dream about what it would be like to have a life where he could actually afford everything within its glorious pages.
Lesson #3: Dare to Take a Chance and Be the First
Monaghan is fond of saying, “I owe all my success to stupidity.” In reality, the emergence of Domino’s as a global pizza empire owes itself less to the fact that Monaghan didn’t know what he was doing, as to the fact that he was willing to take risks and gamble on ideas he couldn’t predict the odds or the outcome of.
Lesson #4: Get Your Motivation from Love, Not Money
In the 1990s, sales were soaring, outlets of Domino’s were popping up all over the world, and Monaghan should have been the happiest guy on earth. But, on top of the world is the last place you would have found him. Instead, Monaghan was tormented with guilt.
Lesson #5: Religion and Business Can Go Hand in Hand
“No matter what I did, I knew I had five priorities in life,” says Monaghan, “physical and mental health, as well as the social, the spiritual and the financial. But the most important thing I could be was a good Catholic. That is my No. 1 priority. There's no compromising that.”
Beneath All the Toppings: How Monaghan Grew Domino’s into a Pizza Empire
“If you want to be successful over a long period, you have to have some idea why you were born and what life is about,” says Monaghan. “I don't know how anybody can function without thinking that through.” It may have taken him a while to realize it, but Monaghan certainly came to know what he was meant to do with his life. From dropping out of school and shredding cheese in his one-man pizza shop in Ypsilanti, Michigan, to exporting his recipe for success to over 8,000 Domino’s locations around the world, Monaghan pioneered his way – and his pizza – to the top. How did he do it?
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By: Evan Carmichael
By: Evan Carmichael
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