7 Small Business Owners who turned into Billionaires

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While scanning the list of world’s richest people on Forbes, I was astonished to find a good number of entrepreneurs who started as small business owner but with their hard work and commitment, they managed to get to the top. None of them was born with a golden spoon, it was the sweat, savings, schmoozing, creativity and good luck, which have helped these moguls enjoy the positions they have today.

According to a 2002 U.S. Census Bureau survey representing some 16 million-business owners, which is a whopping 55%, were initially funded by personal and family capital, while 11.4% snagged bank loans and 8.8% got going on personal and business credit cards. These stats clearly prove that we can make big achievements on our own…am I right?

To keep your spirits high and motivated towards your small businesses, I bring you a list of seven world-beating entrepreneurs who turned their small business ventures into vast empires.

Let’s get inspired!

1: John Catsimatidis

Owner of the Red Apple Group and aspiring Mayor of New York City.

Age: 59

Net Worth: $2.1 billion

Industry: Supermarkets, Real Estate, Oil


Success Story: He was a son of a kitchen helper who entered the grocery industry in the summer of 1966 after graduating from a high school. Working for an owner of a Manhattan super market, he started taking on more responsibilities.
Four years later, the owner offered him a 50% stake in one of his forthcoming stores over the next 10 months at a rate of $1,000 per month. Within a few months, the store’s sales doubled, and Catsimatidis was earning a profit of $500 per week (not bad for a 20-year-old back then). By charming the vendors to let him buy on credit a year later he managed to launch the Red Apple Group, a chain of grocery stores that now includes Gristede’s, Sloan’s and Red Apple. By the age of 25, he owned 10 stores, all debt-free.

2: Harold Hamm

Chairman and chief executive officer Continental Resources & Hiland Holdings

Age: 62

Net Worth: $4.4 billion

Industry: Oil and Gas exploration


Success Story:Harold Hamm was youngest of 13 children to a couple of working as cotton pickers from Purcell, Okla. He worked school jobs as a gas station attendant to supplement his parents’ incomes. In 1966, two years after graduating from high school, for the first time Hamm stepped in a business deal. With a bank loan co-signed by a friend, he purchased a single truck, the main asset of a new oil-and-gas exploration-services business. Two years later, the company changed its name to Continental Resources. Hamm now owns 72% of the outstanding shares in the New York Stock Exchange.

3: Oprah Winfrey

A renowned producer, magazine owner and TV host

Age: 54

Net Worth: $2.5 billion

Industry: Media/Entertainment


Success Story:The accidental daughter of two Mississippi teenagers, Winfrey faced poverty and physical abuse from an early age. She won speech making and beauty contests and eventually earned a scholarship to Tennessee State University. She was the first black female news anchor at Nashville’s WLAC-TV and at 29, she was contracted to host a Chicago morning television show called AM Chicago, later re-named The Oprah Winfrey Show. This owner of Harpo Studios, producer of films and TV shows like Dr. Phil show and the Rachel Ray show was a millionaire by age 32. Other Oprah ventures include the cable television network Oxygen (purchased in 2007 by NBC for $925 million) and publications O, The Oprah Magazine and O at Home.

4: Sandy Weill

Owner of Citigroup


Net Worth: $1.4 billion

Industry: Banking


Success Story:This creator of giant Citigroup, was born in Brooklyn - New York use to gather pennies to achieve his dream. After graduating from Cornell (on scholarship), Weill took a job as a runner for Bear Stearns and studied for his stockbrokers’ licensing exam at night. A few years later, in 1960, he and three friends pooled their savings (an estimated $200,000) to open their own brokerage firm, called “Carter Berlind and Weill.” Two decades of acquisitions later, their Travelers Group was the industry’s second-largest brokerage and in 1998, Travelers Group merged with Citicorp to make what is now known as Citigroup.

5: George Soros

Owner of Quantum Investment Fund

Age: 77

Net Worth: $9 billion

Industry: Finance


Success Story: Born in Hungary, Soros and his parents came to England in 1930. While working as a railway porter and waiter, he got himself through the London School of Economics. Like Sandy Weil, Soros also socked away a few pennies to jump-start his entrepreneurial career. Soros moved to the United States in 1956 and found work at several investment firms, including Arnhold and S. Bleichroeder, where he worked his way up to vice-president of the company. After running several offshore investment funds, he launched his own investment firm with colleague Jim Rogers, which has it has grown into the multibillion-dollar Quantum Fund.

6: J.K. Rowling

Author of “Harry Potter”

Age: 42

Net Worth: $1 billion

Industry: Media/Entertainment


Success Story:Sometimes sheer talent and determination is enough to carve your path to success. As a single mother on welfare in Scotland, Rowling began writing the first Harry Potter novel in Edinburgh cafés whenever she could get her infant daughter to sleep. After being rejected by 12 publishing houses, Bloomsbury, a small publisher in London, offered an advance of 1,500 pounds (about $2,400) even one its editors, Barry Cunningham, advised Rowling to get a day job. The following year, U.S. publishing rights to the first Potter book sold for $105,000. Rowling has since sold nearly 400 million copies worldwide, and is the only author on the Forbes list of the richest people in the world.

7: Kirk Kerkorian

President/CEO of Tracinda Corporation

Age: 90

Net Worth: $16 billion

Industry: Investments


Success Story:Old-fashioned bartering helped put Kirk as the richest person in Los Angeles and rank 41 on the list of richest people of the world. This farmer’s son use to look after famous female aviator Pancho Barnes’ cattle in return for flying lessons in late 1930’s. During World War II, he took a job with the Royal Air Force transporting planes from their Canadian factory to England at $1,000 per month. This job was quiet risky as the planes weren’t designed to withstand the long trip or the harsh weather. With savings from his wartime job, Kerkorian purchased Trans International Airlines for $60,000 in 1947 (with some additional financing.) He later sold it to Transamerica for $104 million in stock and now his private investment firm, Tracinda, now owns 53% of MGM Mirage and is known as the richest person in the Los Angeles.

So guys, don’t give up and keep on working hard, who knows you might also outshine like these business tycoons who once were small business owners.

Posted by David T. Heal

Ne vedem la WEBSTOCK

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Pregatim un eveniment de o zi, compus pe de o parte dintr-o serie de conferinte si workshop-uri dedicate blogging-ului si fenomenului web 2.0 si pe de alta parte de o ceremonie de premiere a site-urilor din Noul Internet. Practic de dimineata pana dupa amiaza vorbim si ascultam, iar seara petrecem la gala. Avem asadar Webstock si Webstock Awards.

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Data: Vineri, 3 octombrie 2008

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