Business success stories

Posted by Heather Villa, CMA, MBA, MSM on September 24, 2009 in: Business - Plain & Simple

I love business success stories: I love hearing about people who started out like the rest of us (no silver spoons) and became superstars. I love to hear about people who overcame odds to become business gurus. These are people we can emulate. We can learn about what they did and model our effort after theirs.

So it’s probably no surprise to you that I keep my eyes open for Forbes’ lists and review them when they are published.

Powerful business people

Recently, Fortune Magazine published their list of 50 Most Powerful Women.

These women come from all backgrounds – different ethnicities, different walks of life – and they have ascended to powerful positions as executives or business owners. Take a moment to click through the list to read about them.

What I like about this list is that it talks about some recent businesses successes that they’ve had, which business owners might consider adopting (on a smaller scale) in our own businesses. Here are a few highlights that I’ve enjoyed reading about:

Highlights of enviable business success

The CEO of Kraft Foods (#2 on the list, Irene Rosenfeld) advertised heavily during the recession.

The CEO of Avon (#5 on the list, Andrea Jung) spearheaded the largest recruiting drive in Avon history, adding 200,000 more people to their list of sales staff.

The co-president of Oracle (#12 on the list, Safra Catz) helped to negotiate a complex deal with Sun Microsystems which will add $1.5 billion in additional annual operating profit.

An Executive VP of Wal-Mart (#24 on the list, Susan Chambers) oversees Wal-Mart’s 2.2 million staff and is looking to add another 25,000 roles in the company. Not bad in this economy!

The CEO and president of Western Union (#31 on the list, Christina Gold) is innovating new products and services to maintain her company’s market leadership position.

Vice-chair and COO of BlackRock (#33 on the list, Sue Wagner) was one of 8 co-founders of this company back when she was just 26 years old. Now, this firm is about to become the largest asset management firm in the world.

President of Personal Investing at Fidelity (#41 on the list, Kathleen Murphy) has more than doubled the amount of assets under management to $700 billion dollars.

Chairman and CEO of Frontier Communications (#50 on the list, Maggie Wilderotter) has been working on an acquisition deal that will add $6.5 billion in revenue and turn her company into a Fortune 500 company.

So, what can we learn from these successful women? They teach us all kinds of valuable business advice. One teaches us that you need to continue spending money to market your business even when the economy is weak. A couple of them showed us that hiring staff can help to make a difference (especially when those are sales staff). A couple of them demonstrated the value of making big acquisition plays; although complex, these will pay off big-time in years to come. And a couple of them showed us the value of innovation: Businesses can be more successful when we push the boundaries.

Good Luck!

Heather Recommends:

Running a business can be busy, challenging work. I can help you become more productive and successful. Find out how.

Product Spotlight


Business Lunch Club