Entrepreneurialism is a dynamic that has two primary sources of influence – passion and necessity.
To become an entrepreneur is enjoyable when you have a passion for a business idea you are passionate about. However, if you have to become an entrepreneur in response to a fight or flight mentality the story might be different.
This is the true story of a young man who served his country in World War II, but had no idea what he could do to make a living once he was discharged.
In 1946 this young man went into debt to develop the Dwarf House restaurant with his brother, Ben. This young man’s family had been devastated by the stock market crash just a few years before and it was those hard times that made it important for there to be a success with the restaurant.
His father had been an insurance salesman, so the boy leaned how to make a return on a simple investment and the importance of responding to the needs of others. He could make a nickel if he bought a six-pack of pop and sold them individually to thirsty neighbors. This was the do or die mentality that drove the man to create a restaurant from a building that was too small in a less than idea location using money he could not pay back if the business failed.
One of the earliest difficulties this man faced was trying to find supplies to run his business. Wartime had made it difficult to find enough supplies to keep a business going. It was even more so with a new business.
The business would fall upon hard times when Ben died in a plane crash leaving the young man to run the business alone.
When a second restaurant was opened and established, a fire on the uninsured business was a huge setback.
At that moment the man determined he had no choice but to move forward. Eventually experiments with making poultry a positive fast food choice led to the development of a fast food chain the serves no hamburgers.
A business that began as a simple entrepreneurial effort based exclusively on the need of a war veteran now features nearly 41,000 employees and represents 1300 stores.
That businessman is Truett Cathy, owner of Chick-Fil-A. This entrepreneurial effort remains a private company and Cathy has instituted a policy that keeps the stores closed on Sunday so families can be guaranteed a day away from work each week. Cathy is also a well-noted and enthusiastic philanthropist.
Cathy provides some great advice for others seeking to fulfill either an entrepreneurial dream or a business birthed in necessity, “Contrary to what you may have been taught in business school, your net worth is not the sum of all you have managed to accumulate in your lifetime. When you die, those who survive you will measure your net worth by what you have given.»