Intuitive Group shares H.J. Heinz’s Story (Overcoming Adversity)
“To do a common thing uncommonly well brings success.” -H.J. Heinz
Some may say the hardest part of reaching your goals is overcoming adversity. Without a doubt you will run into setbacks and sometimes complete failures on your road to success; how you bounce back from those will ultimately determine your future.
An American icon and leader in the industry, you would not think founder of the Heinz Company had many troubles to deal with. However, Henry John Heinz is no stranger to overcoming adversity.
H.J. Heinz was born in 1844 to a family that helped instill a strong business sense and a clear understanding of the importance of good values. At the age of 8 Heinz began selling vegetables form his mother’s garden door to door. A year later he was growing, grinding, bottling, and selling his own brand of horseradish sauce door to door. When Heinz was 12 he had created a business out of selling his horseradish. He had grown from his mother’s back yard garden to a 3 ½ acre garden with a horse and cart to assist in the deliveries; also by this time Heinz was no longer selling door to door, he had accounts with grocery stores in the Pittsburgh area making deliveries 3 times a week. In 1861, Heinz now 17 was making $2,400 a year (big money for that time). Heinz finished high school and attended a business school before going to work for his father at their brickyard. It was only a few years later that Henry John Heinz would soon start his own company.
In 1869, H.J. Heinz partnered with L.C. Noble and founded Heinz Noble & Company. They started off selling Heinz’s horseradish, sauerkraut, vinegar, and pickles. Six years later a depression swept over the United States and a few European countries (it was first called the Great Depression until the 1930s when it was renamed the panic of 1873) and lasted until 1879. Heinz Noble & Company went out of business. Even with the poor economic state, Heinz regrouped and a year later partnered with his brother and cousin to form F&J Heinz. The company outline was the same with a few additions including the infamous ketchup we all love today. It was not until 1888 that Heinz had gained financial control and paid off all debts. Two years later the Heinz Company was incorporated. In 1905, after opening their first foreign factory in England, it was safe to say that Henry John Heinz was a successful entrepreneur with a company bigger then he could imagine. H.J. Heinz passed away in 1919 leaving the business to his son. (The business never felt the effects of the 1930s Great Depression due to the preparation and knowledge Heinz had passed to his son.)
Now if you are like me you are wondering how the heck this man lost his business during a depression and was still able to open the same business a year later selling more products?!
Heinz strongly believed and followed high business ideals and principles that even people today find odd. His principles were simple and quaint; have decency, social justice, and use common sense above all else. Alone these principles don’t seem like much, but as Heinz has proven they are a recipe for enduring business success. He did not believe in any get rich quick schemes and believed if he wanted anything he was going to have to work hard for them. His biggest pet peeve was waste of any kind, whether it be materials, time, or opportunity. When conducting business Heinz followed the belief that you should do the right things that make vendors want to work with you and every profit should be fairly earned. The most important thing Heinz did, and anyone for that matter can do to find success, was keep his enthusiasm, cheerful personality, and passion for what he was doing. Even when times were tough it was said that you would never have guessed Heinz was struggling to keep his business.
Everyone wants to find their own form of success; whether that be to open your own business or complete the marathon you are training for, you’re attitude and passion can sometimes be more important than what you will learn in text books or from your mentors. Even when the going gets tough the best thing you can do to overcome adversity is keep your enthusiasm high and let your passion drive you!
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