A SPORTS LEGEND MAKING BUSINESS
I have always believed that businessmen have a born business sense. A good example that supports this statement is NBA legend, Ervin “Magic” Johnson; already a world famous sportsman he knew how to capitalize his qualities – tenacity, ambition, discipline – which are also needed in the world of business and become a famous business man, not only in the United States, but everywhere in the world. Today, he manages a large corporation and the American press calls him a mogul.
More precisely, his corporation comprises several business entities and partnerships, including Canyon Johnson, a 1 billion dollars real estate investment fund, Yucaipa Johnson, a 500 million dollars worth private equity fund , ASPIRE, an Afro-American TV network, SodexoMAGIC, Magic Airport Holdings, Best Buy,
T.G.I.F. Friday’s Restaurant, Inner City Broadcasting Corporation, Detroit Venture Partners, Vibe Holdings. Johnson is also the president of a multicultural multimedia organization that brings together the brands Vibe, Uptown, and Soul Train.
I could mention Johnson`s partnership with Starbucks that supports the development of urban communities or the fact that he managed to push his corporation Magic Johnson Enterprises (MJE) up to the first position in the Urban Brand America top. All of these facts place him in the elite of American and international business, together with other celebrities and successful people.
I especially appreciate one thing at Magic Johnson and that is his ability of running such diversified businesses, considering he is also president and CEO of MJE. It is absolutely admirable to observe his tenacity in building a legendary name in the world of business, the same way he did in basketball.
LONG TERM BUSINESSES ARE BORN OUT OF A VISION
In business, you either own the necessary money to start or develop a business or you find investors to provide financial support or you have a brilliant idea that makes you rich very fast. This last category includes Larry Page, Google’s CEO, and a man that I admire a lot. People like him that produce revolutions in their areas of competence are always an inspiration for those around them. Of course, not all business men have such brilliant ideas that radically change things, like Page did when he invented the online search engine, but it clearly shows that today any business needs innovation in order to succeed; it can be a management decision, the implementation of a strategy, of a new product or service.
But, in my opinion, innovation needs, beyond a flexible thinking, some vision in the sense of desiring to bring something new to the world, something sustainable that shall work many years from now; something that represents another starting point for the future visionary minds. That is exactly the case of Larry Page who has given mankind the first search engine and a foundation that the future generation can build on and produce further innovations. This means in fact evolution.
Certainly, Page’s time is not up yet. Google is still making a lot of money. In the third trimester of 2013, Google’s income amounted approximately 15 billion dollars and today its value is somewhere around 172, 399,800,300 dollars. This figure confirms one more time that Larry Page is a visionary and that he succeeded in placing his business in history.
RICHARD BRANSON, THE BILLIONAIRE WHO STARTED FROM SCRATCH
No one knows better than Richard Branson how to do business and have fun in the same time, even now when he is 60 years old. And he didn’t always have the material comfort he has today. The British billionaire said in one of his articles posted on entrepreneur.com that ”fun must be an essential part of the business”.
I don’t know if it works all the time, but in his case it worked and the fact that he laughs all the time makes him a likeable person. But, he also says that it is not enough to be “a nicely packed joker”, but it is important to observe whether “the products and services you offer and make people laugh are also helping you find a place in their hearts, the same way as in their minds”.
Branson is not necessarily on my list of business models thanks to this feature, but he is there for his extraordinary abnegation in building a business on an extremely competitive market – airlines. “When I have started Virgin Atlantic in 1984 I had a wonderful team, a bunch of great ideas for making things differently but an extremely small budget for publicity and just one airplane”, Branson remembers. He has started making business at the lowest level possible as a Christmas tree salesman. He has not inherited a fortune, like many others, but he has built it with internal and external resources, and today he owns a global empire that everyone has heard of. But, he is also famous for his openness towards the new generation of entrepreneurs and he always shares with them things from his vast experience. His four Ps are already famous: people, product, price and promotion, elements that must be observed when doing business. I also recommend to everyone his book called “Like a virgin: secrets they won’t teach you at Business School”.
A BUSINESS MODEL TAUGHT IN SCHOOLS
Amancio Ortega – the owner of Inditex, the company that includes some famous brands that are also known in Romania – Zara, Stradivarius, Pull & Bear or Bershka – was absolutely brilliant in the’ 60s. He became the manager of a shop that targeted a small number of wealthy people living in the Spanish city La Coruna. Ortega applied his own innovative idea of producing quality clothes with low costs and distributing them in the local stores. Following the success of this system, he started his own business at the age of 27 – Confecciones Goa. In the’75s he had opened the first Zara store and in’89 he was already the owner of 100 stores all around Spain.
Ortega has continuously extended his business, including outside the country, first in Portugal and afterwards in France, USA, Mexico, Greece, Belgium, and Sweden. Since 2003, Inditex also operates on the Romanian market. During this development, Amancio Ortega has grown his portfolio with new clothing brands: Pull&Bear, Massimo Dutti, Bershka, Stradivarius, Oysho and then Zara Home. His network of stores has enlarged with each year that went by, reaching 5000 in 77 countries.
The secret of his business success was the total control exerted over the production and distribution chain. The products were getting from the design board on the shelves in just 2-3 weeks, 12 times faster than any other brand in this field. A product would not be left on the shelf more than four weeks, thus encouraging the clients to visit the shop more often. Using a logistics system created by Amancio Ortoga, all the data received from the stores were centralized and provided valuable information to the management. This showed which products were successful and which needed to be taken out from the stores.
The development model used by the Inditex group is taught today in many business schools. Financial Times had placed the company with 92,000 employees all over the world on the third position in the top of the largest retailers, after Wal Mart and Tesco.
Amancio Ortega is the richest man in Spain, his fortune amounts approximately 30 billion dollars, but it is not necessarily his wealth that makes him respectable, but his modesty and discretion. Though he owns many properties in several cities around the world, he lives in an apartment located in the center of La Coruna. He never puts on a tie, he wears jeans and shirts, he has never given an interview so far and he attends official event very seldom. Other areas of activity that Ortega is involved in are fashion, oil, tourism, real estates, banking and recently he became the owner of Deportivo La Coruna football club.