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JAN'S IDEA BOX

Simple ideas, motivation, and brainstorming for beginning entrepreneurs. Folllow my journey as I learn about internet business, blogs, and websites. Get to know some fellow internet entrepreneurs and enjoy some off topic ideas, too, while you're here.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

DO YOU KNOW THIS ENTREPRENEUR?

Don't be restricted by what others may think!

I could tell you right now who I am writing about, but I want this to be more than an article filled with trivia about a well known entrepreneur. I want to break through stereotypes and restricting formulas of how to be a successful entrepreneur, the “type” that grows up to be entrepreneurs, that failure is bad, or stop when you find success….I want your mind to open up to the possibilities that anyone can be an entrepreneur.

This clumsy farm boy was born at home on the family homestead that was built by his great grandparents. His ancestors were immigrants from Germany and Switzerland and came to America in the 1700’s. His parents were part of a strict Mennonite sec. He was often uprooted by his father who traveled from town to town chasing business ventures that failed. When his mother grew tired of it, his parents became estranged and his father continued pursing his dreams, never to succeed.

His job history started with being fired from his first job at a small German newspaper at 14 years old. At 18 he started his own business. This young man worked hard with the help of his mother and aunt for 6 years to only have his business fail. After the failure, he moved from the east coast to Denver, CO. Within a few months he learned a new skill and took it to NY to start another business. Within 4 years, this business also failed. This unsucessful entrepreneur returned to his birth state, 28 years old and penniless. He didn’t even have any belongings because he couldn’t afford to bring them with. He relied on the kindness of a former employee to store his belongings till he could have them shipped to him. Eventually the former employee helped him pay to have his things sent. He couldn’t even get a job on his uncle’s farm because he was considered an irresponsible drifter by most of his family.

It took him till he was 40 years old to find love. It was cut short after 17 years (a short marriage in those days) when his wife became ill and died leaving him alone and childless. He never remarried and had no heirs when he died in 1945.

This determined entrepreneur was not defeated by failure. In 1886 this young man gathered up what he had learned and the skills he developed over the years and he started yet another business. It looked promising; he got his first big order. The trouble was he lacked the finances to purchase the raw ingredients to produce his fresh milk caramels. Though he had nothing to secure a loan, he went to a local banker. The banker was so impressed that he backed a loan for this entrepreneur with his own signature. The entrepreneur, still in his apron, literally ran down the street to pay the bank, when the money came in! During the next 14 years, the Lancaster Caramel Company became very successful and was sold for one million dollars to a competitor, the year was 1900.

The company wasn’t sold to provide a comfortable retirement for its owner; he sold it to devote the profits and himself to his year old business…The Hershey Chocolate Company. Milton Hershey is the entrepreneur that your have been reading about.

While Milton Hershey’s caramel company grew and became a success, he learned to make chocolate the hard way, teaching himself by trial and error. At the time, chocolate making was a guarded secret by the Swiss. It was while Milton Hershey was attending the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago that he first became fascinated with chocolate making. He originally developed the chocolate company to provide chocolates to cover his caramels. The chocolate company had 100 vanilla sweet chocolate novelties (we know these chocolates as semi-sweet or dark chocolate today).

Hershey didn’t allow failure, discouragement, or even a successful business, keep him from moving forward His legacy lives on today and shows no sign of slowing down. To read more about milton Hershey and his way of doing business, go to Hershey's website.

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