In today's age with so many Gurus and self-proclaimed Experts, we often forget to study the Entrepreneurs who were true pioneers in their field. People who set out to create a business, despite the fact that no one had done anything like it before. Ultimately pioneering new breakthroughs in industries, products, and our lives.
Henry Ford is one of those people. His fascination with machines set him on a path to create automobiles for the masses for the first time in history. And develop a production system that would become the standard for American manufacturing.
Did he know everything there is to know about business? Absolutely not.
However, that did not deter him from trying. With a steely resolve and the determination to help others, Henry Ford epitomizes the image of the ideal Entrepreneur.
That's why today I'm sharing his life and history – how he grew beyond his ordinary roots to become a pioneer in his industry. And how, even today, your business could improve using his success habits.
I'll show you how, by using a leader's best skill, he created a “blue ocean” product…
Why you can easily accomplish even the most daunting task if you approach it the right way…
And the one characteristic you and Mr. Ford share that sets you apart from the rest…
Henry Ford was born July 30th, 1863 on a farm in Michigan. He was groomed to take over the family farm. However, he had other dreams – he wanted to work with machines.
Three years after his mother passed away, he left the family farm to work as an apprentice machinist in Detroit. Through this experience he became adept at working with the steam engine, and eventually became an engineer with Edison Illuminating Company.
Once he was promoted to Chief Engineer, he started to conduct his own experiments. This led to his completion of the “Ford Quadricycle”, his first working automobile. The test drive was on June 4th, 1896.
With Thomas Edison's encouragement, he continued his research. Which lead to his first foray into owning an automobile company, the Henry Ford Company, founded on November 30, 1901. Unfortunately, due to a conflict of interests with his shareholders, he decided to leave. This company ultimately became the Cadillac Automobile Company.
After a few more failed attempts at starting a business, he finally settled on a partnership with a Detroit-area coal dealer and created the Ford Motor Company. He invented and sold cars all the way from Model A to Model N, which became the best selling car in the country at the time.
However, Mr. Ford was dedicated to creating a better, cheaper “motorcar for the great multitude.” He listened to what the people wanted, the most important thing you can do as an Expertpreneur®, and developed a creative solution: the Model T, introduced in 1908.
This was the first car of its time to have a steering wheel on the left, have the entire engine and transmission enclosed, and be affordable for the average American. It was also easy to drive and inexpensive to repair.
To generate buzz, Ford created a huge publicity machine, ensuring the car was visible in almost every city in North America. He published his famous “Ford Four Cylinder” ad in every national magazine and held promotional events like the black-tie “Ford Clinic” in NYC and Model T rodeos out west, where cowboys used the cars instead of horses to rope calves. Each event was designed to appeal to the local demographic.
He also positioned it to farmers as a commercial device to improve their businesses. The Model T provided an inexpensive option for farmers to move equipment and goods around. In fact, it became so popular tractor companies eventually developed and sold modifications to expand its utility.
All of these efforts led to Ford selling 10,000 cars in his first year. This was at a time where only 100,000 people in all of America owned a car.
As the demand grew, the need to pay for advertising declined. However, he had to figure out how to keep up his supply.
Ever-searching for ways to improve efficiency and lower production costs, Ford introduced the moving assembly line in 1913. Effectively revolutionizing manufacturing in the 1900's.
However, as you can imagine, workers became fatigued with the tedious work day-in and day-out. Turnover was so high that the company hired 53,000 people a year to fill 14,000 jobs.
Never one to lie down, Ford sought to address this problem. And he came up with an innovative solution: he doubled his worker's wages, improving retention and encouraging an influx of hopeful workers eager to work for him.
Through his bold ideas and fearlessness, he truly changed the landscape of the modern world. By the 1920's, the majority of American drivers had bought and learned to drive this car, changing our quality of life forever. His assembly line became the mode of production for everything from electronics to food items. And his revolutionary high-wage, low-skilled factory jobs accelerated the expansion of the middle class, as we know it.
All despite having zero business experience when he started out.
Extreme Success Habits
Henry Ford is a prime example of being dedicated to helping others. He wanted to create a product that would improve the lives of everyone around him, and a work environment to encourage dedication to his company. Genuinely making the world a better place to live in.
Here are six habits Henry Ford implemented in his business to enjoy the extreme success he achieved. Although he revolutionized many aspects of our lives, his habits were very simple. You absolutely can incorporate them into your business today:
1) Keep a Strong Focus – Henry Ford was fascinated with all machines. However, he chose to focus on automobiles. And due to his singular focus on improving the automobile, he invented the Model T, changing the industry forever.
I've talked at length about the importance of focus in your business. Not getting distracted by other things. Working on one product, marketing campaign, or task at a time. Ensuring you finish projects so you can earn money faster.
Focusing will jumpstart your business, save you from Entrepreneurial A.D.D. (attention deficit disorder), and put you miles ahead of your competition.
2) Manage Your Time Well – Ford is quoted saying, “It has been my observation that most people get ahead during the time that others waste.”
As an Expertpreneur®, you want to ensure you are being efficient with your time. This does not mean that you have to work extreme hours; instead, maximize your time by planning your days and doing high-value activities.
Make lists, allow yourself to delegate, and focus on what you do best. Be specific with your time allowances, and remove all distractions. In doing this, you'll actually end up working less than others who waste their time.
3) Never Forget Your Goals – Anyone who runs a business faces struggles. Even the most successful Entrepreneurs deal with obstacles on a regular basis.
However, the key to getting through those rough patches is having a clear idea of where you want to be. Reminding yourself of the life you want, the people you want to reach, and the difference you want to make. Understanding your true vision and mission with total clarity.
Only in doing this will you have the strength and resolve to wade through rough waters to get to the other side. And your business will do much better for it.
4) Create Small Achievable Tasks – It's no surprise that the inventor of the assembly line is a fan of dividing up a large task into smaller ones. It makes you a lot more productive.
Doing this turns mountain-size tasks into smaller, simple tasks. And as a bonus, each time you achieve one of those smaller tasks, you feel a sense of accomplishment, encouraging you to keep on the path.
For example, if you were creating an info product, you would break it down into small sections. First you might create the introduction, then a chapter, and so on. That way, a large project becomes accessible and easy to accomplish.
5) Devote Yourself to Service – Truly, the cornerstone of success as an Expertpreneur® is dedicating yourself to helping your target market. Becoming an advocate for your Ideal Client and stopping at nothing to help them experience their transformation.
This means creating products that address their problems, fears, frustrations, hopes and desires, and also following-up after the purchase. Henry Ford created the Model T because he wanted people to have an affordable car. And he kept improving it even after it became a success.
Be sure to ask your clients questions and find ways to improve your products and services. Offer guidance when needed. Be willing to communicate directly.
The Expertpreneur® who goes this extra mile will have a far more successful business than the one who is only in it for the money. Serve your clients well, and the money will come.
6) Hang Out With Like-Minded People – Ford was a member of a Mastermind group called “The Vagabonds.” This incredible group included Edison, President Warren G. Harding, and Harvey Firestone (who founded Firestone Tire and Rubber Company)
Napoleon Hill, author of “Think and Grow Rich”, introduced the concept of the Mastermind group to the masses. He defined it as a “coordination of knowledge and effort, in a spirit of harmony , between two or more people, for the attainment of a definite purpose.” Essentially, hanging out with like-minded people and supporting each other.
The benefits of participating in a Master Mind are incredible. In addition to support, you'll generate breakthrough ideas through feedback from other members, develop connections to elevate your business, create profitable partnerships, and, most importantly, have accountability. People helping you stay on track, ensuring you meet your goals.
As you already know, each of these men found incredible success. And they attribute it to their Mastermind group. If you are interested in joining a Mastermind, I offer Momentum Mastermind Business Coaching for ExpertPreneurs®. It could be just the boost your business needs.
Age Old Secrets to Success
While it's important to keep on the pulse of what's happening in your industry, the marketing world, and our culture, there's plenty of knowledge to gain from those who came before us. The pioneers that shaped the world into what it is today.
Henry Ford was an incredible leader and a shining example of following your passion no matter what. He didn't grow up with a business background. Yet, he found a way to make things happen due to his dedication to helping others and his desire to achieve his goals.
Although this is the last week of my Extreme Success Habits series, there are countless other successful Entrepreneurs you can research to discover ways to improve your business. Check out Benjamin Franklin, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates… anyone who fought against the odds and came out on top.
They'll inspire you to become a better Expertpreneur®, and offer proof that anyone can find success. You just have to be willing to fight for it.