Success Stories By Dick Kazan - Valuable lessons on how to succeed in business and in life
Entertaining and compelling real-life stories with valuable
lessons on how to succeed in business and in life.
The author is successful business, real estate, and media entrepreneur Dick Kazan.
Published on September 1, 2009

Today: How a largely uneducated farm boy made one of the biggest fortunes in U.S. history.

If you think the odds against your success are long wait until you read this story about a man who seemingly had nothing going for him. A mediocre student, he dropped out of school and at 16, left home for Detroit where he became a machinist.

At times when he couldn’t find a job he worked on the family farm in Dearborn, Michigan.

Then at 25, this man married Clara Bryant and earned a living by running a sawmill. Later he and Clara were blessed with a son.

But there was little success in his career. However, we each have things we do well and in his case, he had mechanical aptitude. He became an engineer at the Edison Company where he blossomed. With time he rose to Chief Engineer.

In that lofty position, life was grand as he commanded respect and had the opportunity to become financially secure. He also had the income to pursue his hobby and passion, automobiles.

However, he soon got swept up in that passion and then did something many people would think was crazy. He found the courage to quit a great job to start an automobile venture.

It was exciting as he became his own boss and lived his dream doing something he loved. But he had no business experience and the venture collapsed.

This left him broke and out of work. But a determined entrepreneur doesn’t give-up and this man didn’t. He learned from his mistakes, saved his money and started another automobile venture.

He again risked everything he owned and convinced others to invest. But after seeing his initial results those investors lost confidence in him and brought in someone else to run the business. Humiliated, he quit.

Still, he refused to give-up. He was 40, an age when most failed entrepreneurs forget the dream and most people resign themselves to working for others. Yet this man tried again.

Because of his prior failures, investors were skeptical. And these were scary times for he was no longer young and he had a family to support. What would happen if this venture failed?

And it began to fail. Sales were slow and this man couldn’t afford to pay his biggest creditor, who then threatened to throw his company into bankruptcy.

Desperate, his company about to collapse, he and his business partner pleaded with this creditor and finally at the last minute negotiated a settlement converting the creditor’s debt into ownership in the venture. For how else could this creditor have any chance of ever getting paid?

With this well known creditor, the car makers the Dodge Brothers taking a major ownership in his firm, others invested and this fledgling company weathered the storm and began to build popular cars.

As a result, we’ll never know what would have happened to this man had this venture failed. For it hit big and he built one of the largest businesses in the world.

It would revolutionize automobile manufacturing and his company became a household name, as it is today. In fact, you or your family may own one or more of his products.

Who was he? He was Henry Ford and his venture was the Ford Motor Company.

Success Tip of the Week: In his words, “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” He practiced what he preached and if you’re a failed entrepreneur don’t give-up. You may be just one more venture away from tremendous success.

In the next KazanToday: A man who built a tiny company into a global powerhouse, making it a household name you’ll quickly recognize.

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Many of these short, inspirational success stories are about people from all walks of life who overcame seemingly insurmountable obstacles to achieve remarkable results. These stories contain practical advice and a recipe for success for each of these renowned individuals. Some of their stories may help you to avoid some of the costly and time consuming mistakes that many of us make in life and at work. Learn from some of history's greatest winners on how to become a winner yourself, no matter what the obstacle, and no matter how daunting the task before you may seem. Good luck!