7 Business Failure Stories that Turned into Success Stories


Behind every man’s success is his greatest failure in life. No one can take away one from another because these are intertwined with fate already. Imagine if Michael Jordan wasn’t rejected in his high school basketball team, do you think he’ll strive harder and become the greatest sportsman of all time?

There are a lot of success stories that we’ve read or listened to everywhere. Some famous stories include J.K. Rowling’s several attempts to publish the Harry Potter series, the 10,000 tries of Thomas Edison to create a light bulb, and when Steve Jobs was kicked out of Apple. To think, their stories would be 5boring without those failures because there won’t be any stories to share after all.

But having failures isn’t about adding spice to your story; it is about the learning process to make you wiser. The same is true with these 7 failures that will make you change your perception to failures:

warren-buffett1. Warren Buffett

He is undeniably the most successful investor in the world who sits as the Chairman of the Board for Berkshire Hathaway, a multinational conglomerate listed as the fifth-largest public company by Forbes Global 2000.

A self-confessed coke lover, stock investors highly regard his advice about what stocks to buy and his views about the economy. But before emerging as one of the best financial advisors, he too had experienced failures that taught him to become better and wiser in making decisions.

At a young age of eleven, he is already into buying stocks. He bought shares at a price of $38 dollar per share and sold them when it reached $40 per share.

But how this became a failure?

Well, nothing’s more hurtful than seeing the stock you bought skyrocketing up to $200 per share after selling your shares. Ouch!

On the other hand, Buffett thinks that buying Berkshire Hathaway was his worst dumbest investment.

He was given a tender offer price by Seabury Stanton, former owner of Berkshire, only to find out later on that he was cheated by an eighth of a point lower than their agreement. To cut the story short, he bought more shares so he can have the power to fire Stanton. He said that had he invested his whopping $200B to insurance, his gains could have doubled instead.

Yet, it turns out that his biggest mistake will make him and Berkshire Hathaway prestigious. With these experiences he had, he won’t be as great as he is right now.

reed-hastings2. Reed Hastings

The ball is indeed round for Reed Hastings and the success story of Netflix.

Everybody knows what Netflix is but for the benefit of those who don’t, Netflix provides movies and TV shows through streaming. Some of the popular shows are Orange Is The New Black and House Of Cards. It rose to popularity until its name already became an adjective.

All thanks to Blockbuster for denying the acquisition of Netflix back in 2000 when Hastings was starting to lose profit.

Blockbuster once had 7,700 stores opened by the time Hastings was willing to sell most of his company’s stake for $50M. Yet, the David in this story didn’t lose hope after being turned down by Goliath. Hastings sold 5.5 million of common shares at a price of $15 per share despite incurring losses at the beginning. Fast forward 10 years later, Netflix has become a household name while the other continues to struggle to get back on track.

Now that’s a blessing in disguise!

Related: Top 7 Successful Businesses in the Philippines that Will Inspire You

milton-hershey3. Milton Hershey

It is believed that Hershey’s Kisses is named after the sound or motion of its manufacturing process. But that is only a theory that still needs to be proven. Nevertheless, there’s more interesting story than the origin of its name. It is none other than the story of Milton Hershey, the founder of our favorite chocolate Hershey’s.

Three is a charm for Milton as he attempted thrice before succeeding. But his journey was never as sweet as his famous chocolate. It required him to have two failure businesses where he devoted a lot of his time for them to survive. An ordinary person who was haunted by too many failures would give up easily; what more when your relatives refused to help you after failing twice.

Yet, Hershey – who was already a candy-maker at 15 – was full of determination because he was extraordinary. With the help of his friend and a former employee, they established Lancaster Caramel Co. He tested different variations of sweets using fresh milk until he found the right formula that would sell millions later on.

If Mr. Hershey gave up when the world seemed to go against him, there won’t be any Hershey’s that we all love today.

arianna-huffington4. Arianna Huffington

Does her surname sound familiar? You might have read it when you’re browsing your news feed or elsewhere. That is because Arianna Huffington is the co-founder and the editor-in-chief of the online news platform The Huffington Post or simply HuffPost.

Prior to the success of HuffPost, she is an author and a political candidate in California last 2003. Despite the success of her first book, she had 36 rejections on her second book. But instead of losing hope, those rejections became her strength.

Two years later after her withdrawal from her political ambition, she launched HuffPost together with Ken Lerer using the funds they raised for the campaign. With her passion in writing and political interest, the site emerged as one of the best online news sites particularly in terms of US politics.

Her mother is her greatest influencer to her positive-thinking. She shares with Success on her interview:

“My mother instilled in me that failure was not something to be afraid of, that it was not the opposite of success. It was a steppingstone to success. So I had no fear of failure. Perseverance is everything. I don’t give up. Everybody has failures, but successful people keep on going…. She was my life mentor.” – Arianna Huffington

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