The theme of this article is inspiration. It’s about businesses that were at the point of staring bankruptcy in the face but managed to turn everything around and get back on top.
We all love a good underdog story or an “against all odds” comeback story. It’s one of the reasons why the first “Rocky” movie is one of the greatest films of all time. The business world is full of them – and they involve some of the biggest brand names on the planet.
We all face peril occasionally when we do business. That’s the way of the world. We can’t get everything right all the time, and we’re also vulnerable to circumstances beyond our control.
If you run a business, you’ll eventually face tough times. How you deal with those tough times will determine whether or not you succeed or fail in the long term. If there are tough times ahead for you and your business right now, we hope that you’ll take some confidence from these incredible business comeback stories.
There is nothing in the world of entertainment bigger than Marvel right now. The world’s most famous comic book company has the backing of Disney and has created a movie and television universe wider and deeper than anything we’ve seen before. Every time Marvel makes something new, people lap it up. It’s almost impossible to imagine the company struggling – and yet they did.
Back in the 1990s, comic books failed to move with the times and embrace the internet age. In 1996, the company filed for bankruptcy protection. It wasn’t until a merger came along the following year that the idea of making movies occurred to Marvel – and they ran with it.
Now, every film they make, seems to break the billion-dollar mark at the box office. They never gave up on publishing comic books, but they realised that comic books alone were no longer enough to sustain them. By breaking the mould they’d created for themselves, they found a way to survive.
Ford is the oldest automobile company in the world. They practically invented the industry. The name ‘Ford’ is famous not only because they make the cars you use for your daily commute, but also within the field of motorsport. Their logo is a badge of quality.
Today the business is healthy, but a little over a decade ago, it teetered on the brink of extinction. They were in rough shape at the turn of the century, and so the financial crisis of 2008 almost finished them off.
By the end of that year, their stock dropped to barely a dollar per share. Two years earlier than that, their accounts showed a one-year loss of twelve billion dollars. Most companies couldn’t survive a loss like that, and Ford very nearly didn’t.
A change of CEO is what ultimately saved them, with Allan Mullaly coming in to steady the ship and then turn it around. New blood at the top is often what’s needed if you and your fellow directors can’t see a way out of a crisis – and sometimes that might even mean handing over some of your duties. Not everybody is brave enough to do that, but it’s what kept Ford afloat.
If time travel existed, we could go back to the 1980s and early 1990s to see that Nintendo used to be the biggest video game company in the world. Every kid wanted a Nintendo or a Super Nintendo, and a lot of adults did, too.
When Sony came along with the PlayStation, it was such a superior product that it blew Nintendo’s hardware out of the water. Nintendo couldn’t compete, and so the launch of the even-more-powerful PlayStation 2 in 2000 nearly finished them off.
To avoid destruction, Nintendo took a huge gamble. They decided to stop trying to out-power Sony and make a different, more family-orientated type of console instead.
At the time, Nintendo’s gamble was thought of as a ‘hail Mary’ punt, little different from pumping the last of your money into an online slots website and hoping for the best. Just as most people have a bad luck gambling story, most people have a good luck gambling story too.
Every day, someone will hit up Online Slots UK to play their online slots and come up smiling. Nintendo’s day came in 2006 when they launched the Nintendo Wii and found a whole new audience.
The unconventional, comparatively low-budget, fun-focused console was the Japanese company’s equivalent of the ultimate online slots jackpot and paved the way for the success the company still enjoys today with the Nintendo Switch.
This is probably the most famous business comeback story of them all, but it would be remiss of us not to include it. The late Steve Jobs was world-famous as the mastermind behind Apple, but in 1985 he was fired from his own company after a breakdown in relations with other senior staff.
Without Jobs, the company nosedived. Apple pursued doomed-to-fail ideas like Macintosh TV and produced low-spec home computers that couldn’t find a foothold in the market. As a result, their value fell so far and so fast that Jobs was able to buy his way back in.
In a great historical irony, he did so with money borrowed from Microsoft. The Microsoft cash paid for the development of the iMac and the iPhone, and the rest is history. Microsoft almost certainly regrets lending them the cash, but the moral of the story here is twofold. Firstly, there’s no shame in going back to someone if it was a mistake to let them go, and secondly, you shouldn’t be afraid to work with or even take from your biggest rivals if it’s the only way to stay in the game.
A world without Apple, Nintendo, Ford, and Marvel scarcely bears thinking about, and yet it’s a world that we almost found ourselves living in. Failures in business can happen and do happen regularly, but often businesses go to the wall without attempting to exploit every option at their disposal. Think outside the box, don’t be afraid to make changes, and get behind those changes when they’re made. That has to be a better option than shutting things down and walking away.