Belfast Telegraph

Helping to smooth the rocky road to success

By Debbie Orme

Business ideas come from many sources. While some entrepreneurs take an existing idea and make it better to the point where it's a must have and so outstrips the competition, others want to create something that's never been done before. The road to success, however, doesn't always run completely smoothly.

Did you know, for example, that Microsoft founder Bill Gates, never actually finished college? Gates left Harvard to go and work at Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems: a risky decision, but one which paid off, since his entrepreneurial spirit and incredible intellect have now made him one of the world's wealthiest people.

Henry Ford, who gave us the first affordable car and prompted the use of assembly lines in mass production, had to overcome personal adversities on his road to success. In addition to his dyslexia, Ford also had to reject taking over the family farm, which caused both him and his family distress.

Film mogul Walt Disney was fired from his job at the Kansas City Star in 1919 because he 'lacked imaginative ideas'. Following the sacking, Disney went on to create a cartoon series that later developed into what we now know as The Walt Disney Company.

Mark Cuban is best known for his wide range of business ventures, including his ownership of NBA's Dallas Mavericks, Landmark theatres, Magnolia Pictures and HDTV cable network, HDNet. Yet, before he struck gold, Cuban was working as a bartender and salesman at a computer software store. Fired after less than a year at the store, Cuban decided to turn his attention to starting his own company, MicroSolutions. And the rest ... well, the rest is history.

If you've an idea that's got potential, come and talk to people who've 'been there, done that' at the Smart Business Show, Odyssey Arena, Belfast on Thursday and Friday. Check out for details.

Belfast Telegraph