Business Lessons Learned from Henry Ford

February 18, 2014 | Valerie Wong

There's a reason why Henry Ford is considered one of the most successful and famous businessmen of all time, and it roots from the fact that up until today, many of the tenets and examples he has established as an entrepreneur is still being used to great effect. This American industrialist revolutionary founded the Ford Motor Company, which still exists today. Other than that, it was his foresight and maverick way of thinking that allowed him to become the vanguard of the transportation industry. He was able to make the concept of the horseless carriage work in more ways than one while helping people purchase their first car with little to no trouble at all.

What Is Henry Ford's Secret to Success?

The secret to Henry Ford's success cannot be set in one formula. In fact, his entire life is worth a coursework on how to become a true entrepreneur, which is to be expected of someone whom many consider to be the businessman's businessman. Although he didn't invent the concept of entrepreneurship, he certainly redefined and improved it by leaps and bounds for both the 20th and 21st century. His century-old process still remains effective in teaching young businessmen how to succeed in their field—and it need not be related to automobiles—even in the modern age.

As far as Ford was concerned, the secret (or one of the secrets) to success is innovation.  Meanwhile, innovation that cannot be executed or applied properly in a useful manner is nothing more than a pipe dream. Many of the inventions as well as leaps and bounds of progress of our world can be traced back to this attitude Ford has created wherein there are certainly more than one way to reinvent the wheel or, barring that, find better things other than the wheel to occupy your time. This led the way to his assembly line automobile production.

Mass Production with Quality in Mind

Until Ford, the concept of mass producing cars at the scale that he was envisioning was nothing short than ludicrous. Mass production on an unparalleled scale came about not because he invented either the car or the assembly line, but instead he improved upon it. He revolutionized what was there and resold it as something new. One of the main tenets of marketing is all about finding new uses for old products so that they could be marketed effectively to a new audience in that fashion. As expected of someone of his caliber, he put his ideas in motion instead of letting them stagnate.

With that said, one of the greatest contributions Ford offered to the world of entrepreneurship, marketing, and business is one that has become the golden rules of our time: Know your market. If you know your market like you know yourself or even beyond that, then you could conquer them and all the rest of your competitors will be left in the dust, following you as their leader but never really understanding why you're successful. Don't make generic products; make them "pop" by researching what interests your customer, from affordability to certain features absent in the competition.

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