Scott: I was in your call last night and you even said in your introduction here, you talked about, you alluded to earlier the successes as well as the failures and I think a lot of times we get the illusion -- we sit there and we look at the Bill Gates, or Richard Branson or Michael Dell, and actually just think that everything has just gone their way the whole time and there has been a constant stream of successes when we look at these more successful people.
And the reality is very far different. Even if those guys you stated one company and built one company and for those who are serial entrepreneurs, there are all kinds of reasons that we leave companies and we take the lessons that we learned from them. You both alluded to that. I know, Murray, you had such a phenomenal success with Indian Motorcyle, when you bought that brand, and yet I think it's fair to say that five years later, it didn't turn out exactly as planned.
So, both of you guys, tell a little bit about, maybe one of those things that I'll say -- I like to just call “less than successes” and tell a little bit about your own experience with one of those and what lessons you learnt from it, and what role of place for us as entrepreneurs in how we deal with those situations and move on from them.
Murray: I had a number of failures in business and I have had my good fortune in many more successes. The Indian Motorcyle story was one of the successes. When I bought the trademarks on bankruptcy in 1997, over the next three years, I managed to build a very successful company with operations in the hospitality, motorcycle manufacturing, licensing, parts and accessories, retail clothing, some 400 different products and programs that were created that allowed the company to achieve success globally that it did.
In the first year alone, we did $75 million in sales and with a corporate evaluation of $300 million. As I said earlier in the conversation, stepping out of your own way can often lead to success, and this is a great example of that.
In 1999, together with the board of directors, I decided to step out of my own way. And so, in doing so, I allowed my partner then, the CEO of Coca-Cola Enterprises, who was a much more seasoned corporate person to take the company into doing an IPL. And so I stepped aside to allow that individual to take over control of the company.
Unfortunately, shortly thereafter, a couple of months, I had a massive heart attack on an aeroplane and didn't do so well, and from that point had to take a passive role in watching what I used to own 37% of, over the next five or six years, subsequently go back into bankruptcy again. So, in that particular case, it was not that it was a failure for me, it was that there was a division of the vision for the brand in the future.
I had a number of other businesses that didn't do so well. Predominantly, the case was that either we were ahead of our times in technology or we were undercapitalized with regards to cash flow, or we lacked the particular expertise in the key management that would otherwise see us be successful. But, looking back, every single one of them was avoidable, had we had the information at the time from someone who had been there and done it before. And so, from my perspective, failure is avoidable if you take the action, if you get out of your own way, if you recognize you need help and are prepared to do what it takes.
We often talk about, between John and I, we look at different individuals and we say, which one is prepared to be committed to their success and which one is only interested? And the difference is that if you are interested, you will do what's convenient, and if you are committed, you will do whatever it takes.
And doing whatever it takes is what's required to succeed in small business around the world today. You can no longer get by with just convenience and a half approach. So that's my side of that story. John?
John: Yeah. I think there are a couple of things I am thinking about here and there are brains that are wired for success and survival, not failure. And so, we buy into the illusion that our past successes in other areas, or even in business, are a guarantee or a ticket pass to future success.
And any time you are into a new endeavor that you haven't been in, you are subjected to the same laws where nature doesn't think twice about inflicting capital punishment.
So, if you make an error in judgment, "See ya! Bye!" And whenever you are into a new endeavor, then you are susceptible to the laws of that endeavor. And yes, you can mitigate, obviously, your risk if you understand the fundamentals of business, you understand the fundamentals of thinking, you understand the fundamentals of being open to new ideas and suggestions, and you are able to take your ego and just set it aside.
And I think, what we have found is when we and the people we work with are able to set aside what we know, or what we believe to be true, and we are open to another human being's point of view from their perspective of all the trials and tribulations they have gone through, then we now add the new references, tools and experience to our arsenal, so we could be better prepared to make decisions.
And that's one of the things that we teach and one of the things we practice. We have a lot of consultants who work with us in the different facets of what we are doing, to make sure that we have got the best of thinking and behaviors to assure our success in this venture right now.