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Your Career Path

In this transcript, Clay Clark (US SBA Entrepreneur of the Year) discusses the career path of an entrepreneur on Thrive15.com, one of the best business schools in Michigan!

Clay Clark:    Let me give you an example of how I've seen [inaudible 00:00:08]. One of the companies that we all know is Starbucks. We all know their CEO, Schultz, okay? Mr. Schultz. Well, this guy had the idea that he could in fact reinvent the coffee industry. I'll give you his history.

    He basically was an executive. He did very well. He transitioned out of a career. He travels to Europe, he goes there and he sees other baristas. He discovers baristas. He discovers that coffee can be served with a certain art to it. He becomes excited about the concept of basically exporting the barista concept from Europe over to the United States. 

    He approaches the Starbucks people, the guys who own the company called Starbucks which primarily specialized in selling coffee grinders, based in Seattle, and he says, "Hey, I would like to start a store. I would like to start a national concept. I would like to...", and they say, "Well, that's great but you need to be a top, what? Technician."

    He goes to work with them. This is humbling. He's a guy who's done well and now he's working as a technician for a group of guys called Starbucks in Seattle. That company wasn't financially destitute but they were not thriving. They weren't a big company. Then he has this big idea because he's in the top 10 percent; this big idea: Let's grow Starbucks into a national company. 

    I believe on every corner in America we could have a community, a third place, he called it. He called it the third place. Third. Not home. Not work, but a place where you could connect with other people and embellish with other people and to enjoy coffee, to enjoy beverages. You would actually pay a premium price to be in a place that's nice because you could fellowship with others. The cost of coffee became insignificant because it was a great place to do a business meeting, to connect with friends and family, to meet people. It became a community center, like an upscale community center, just like he had seen in Europe. He cast that vision.

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    Well then he has this big idea that he moves into the management phase because the idea worked. His store #1 took off. People in Starbucks loved it. Store 2, store 3, store 4 ... now though he's managing five stores. The bathrooms have to be cleaned. The coffee has to be made every 30 minutes. The overhead music ambiance has to be controlled. The smell of the place has to be taken care of. People have to have schedules. Managers have insurance. People have paid days off. People want to call in sick. There has to be an operations manual. There has to be a handbook. There has to be capital. There has to be loans. There has to be all of these things and he has to become a manager who could come up with metrics that he can manage the company and know if each store is healthy.

    He had to get into the numbers. Was he a numbers guy when he was here? Maybe he was, bu the had to transition into becoming a metrics-focused person. He was the kind of person who was absolutely obsessive about the numbers, the detail, the differences in the detail. He had to make sure that every single store was exactly a carbon copy of the store, and that each store operated at a profit. A what? Profit. Why? Because it's a business. This is not a charity. It's not a ministry. It's a business. He had to make profit.

    Then he transitioned his comeback into this now to become the vision caster, to inspire thousands and thousands upon thousands of baristas coast-to-coast to come work for the company, right? Now, what does Starbucks sound for? Well, they say at Starbucks, if you come work at Starbucks, we're going to offer health care to all of our employees. At Starbucks, when you buy our water, we're going to take the water, we're going to take the money that you pay us for the money that we sell and we're going to help create wells, fresh water wells in third world countries.

    At Starbucks, we're going to help support America's small business. At Starbucks, we're going to, and he created a vision that has then re-energized that base. 


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