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Today we're going to take a closer look at how a man that left school when he was 10 to work on his father's farm so that his little brother could go to school. He would go on to build one of the most recognizable companies in the world. This is the story of Coca-Cola founder Asa Candler and the top 3 lessons that you can learn from his success.
"Every human life is made to fit some place, and there is a place for every life." - Asa Candler
Asa Griggs Candler was born on December 30, 1851 in Villa Rica, Georgia, and was the eighth of eleven children. He grew up during the time of the American Civil War. Candler's father was a well-established merchant and property owner, but the war would take its toll on the family; they often had no more than the bare necessities. Candler's formal education began when he was five years old, but was sporadic throughout. When he was ten years old, he left school and spent his time working on his father's farm. While he could have opted to attend Emory College, he instead let his brother, Warren attend in his place.
Candler was anxious to enter the working world. He had an interest in the medical field, but with no money for medical school, he decided to pursue a career as a druggist. He took on an apprenticeship with two pharmacists in his hometown, but his earnings were meagre. So, Candler decided to move to Atlanta in search of better opportunities. In 1873, with just $1.75 in his pocket, Candler made the move to Atlanta and landed a job with a local druggist, George J. Howard. His early success and work ethic led to his promotion as chief clerk. However, after a falling out with Howard, Candler decided to strike out on his own and become his own boss.
Candler used to get migraines and one day they were so bad that he was willing to try whatever it took to get rid of it. He turned to a little known product that had been produced by a fellow Atlanta-based druggist, John Smyth Pemberton. Pemberton had created something called "Coca-Cola," his own personal fizzy 'brain tonic' and headache medicine that combined coca leaves and kola nuts. He had been selling the drink for five cents a glass at his own drugstore. It was created in his back yard in a three-legged fifteen-gallon pot that stood over a fire, and when Candler sampled it, he was immediately hooked. In what appeared to be a rash decision to onlookers, Candler decided at once to sell his entire stock of drugs, paints, oils, glass, and fancy clothes. He sold off everything he could and raised roughly $50,000. He initially invested $500 into Pemberton's company, but by the end of 1891, he had managed to gain control over the entire Coca-Cola product for just $2,300. He used the rest of the money to continue manufacturing and marketing the drink. Coca-Cola was born.
Action Item #1: Make People Remember Your Product
Action Item #2: Be Unique
Action Item #3: If it Ain't Broke, Don't Fix It
Asa Candler was a strong businessperson and aggressive when it came to all of his ventures, but he believed personal wealth should benefit the community. Unheard of in his day, he would challenge other wealthy business people to match everything he gave to charity. A lot of this money went towards the building of Wesley Memorial Hospital, which is now known as Emory University Hospital. Candler did a lot for education and is considered the founder of Emory University.
According to one story, he would not associate with other business people that did not share his point of view about giving back to the community. This feeling was proven in public when he slapped one of the richest men in Atlanta at the time for not giving money to help expand Emory University. This story ran in all the local newspapers and was front-page news for more than a week, until the wealthy businessperson finally gave $12,500 to the university and did it publicly.
"I wish that the characteristic excellence of our people may be made better and that the things which blemish our lives may be speedily obliterated."
"The product sold itself, I just wanted to remind people it was one of a kind."
"Every human life is made to fit some place, and there is a place for every life."
What Do You Think?
Do you make your marketing memorable? Is your product unique or have unique features? Are you making changes that do not need to be made? Tell me what you think by leaving a message below.