An important key to becoming successful in the world of business is the ability to be resourceful and “act as if” you’ve already accomplished your desired goals before realising them.

Starting a business can be challenging and filled with obstacles, but with determination, you can overcome.

Below is an example of five entrepreneurs who were prepared to “fake it til they made it.”

Disclaimer – We are against lying your way to the top.

1. David Geffen – American media mogul (Worth US$ 6.5 billion) 

Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Image

David Geffen is a self-made billionaire and is widely regarded as one of the greatest media moguls of all time. But before all that he was just an ordinary teen with a whole lot of ambition.
At an early age Geffen was determined to work in the entertainment industry and to be free of financial worry.

In order to achieve this aim, applied for a job at the William Morris Agency mail room. Knowing that he would need to stand out from the other applicants, he lied on his application form about graduating from UCLA. He even went as far as turning up in the office every morning to alter the UCLA letter to confirm is graduation.

It’s this ‘whatever it takes’ attitude which he used to become a multi- millionaire at age 27 and create some of the greatest record labels and production companies in the world including, Asylum Records, Geffen Records, DGC Records and DreamWorks SKG.

2. Duncan Bannatyne – Scottish serial entrepreneur (Worth GB£200 million)

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When Scottish Entrepreneur Duncan Bannatyne sold his Ice Cream business and decided to venture into the private care home business, he needed a £360,000 to finance it. With no proven credit track-record, the bank refused to lend him the money, so he sold his car, borrowed £30,000 out of three credit cards and even sold his house. Still short of cash, he was persistent in pursuing different bank mangers to loan him the money to expand his business, finally one bank manager agreed to loan the money providing his care home was filled up. The care home was not filled up, but instead of giving up he found a solution.

He convinced his mother and her friends to act as residents.

When the bank manager walked in, Duncan Bannatyne showed the 30 rooms with 30 elderly people occupying the rooms. This persuaded the bank to give him the business loan which helped Duncan build up a second care home. Eventually, in 1997 he sold his Care home business for £45 million pounds.

3. Cathy Hughes – Radio entrepreneur (Worth US$460)

When the founder of Radio One, now self-made millionaire Cathy Hughes, was struggling financially at the early stages of her business, her banker advised her to speak positively instead of negative about her situation to draw more customers. In Cathy Hughes words “He said lie, say this is the best, I’m having more fun, I didn’t know business could be so good, I may have to expand, I said you have got be joking, you’ve got to be joking, I thought he was crazy. He said do me a favour and try it. So the next day I lied. Somebody asked how is business, I said it is fabulous and all of a sudden in a short period of time people were seeing me, greeting me saying I hear your business is doing great and I said the lie and guess what? …. I didn’t notice I was making progress until I had turned the corner and to this day the profit as just continues to rise.”

4. Maurice and Charles Saatchi – Founders of the Saatchi and Saatchi ad agency 

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Saatchi & Saatchi is considered to be one of the largest and well-respected advertising agencies in the world.

Before reaching the highest form of business success, the company was founded by brothers Maurice and Charles Saatchi in 1970.

In their earlier years, finding large clients was difficult, as they did not have a proven track record – unlike their competitors.

To persuade clients to join their agency, the brothers would hire out large offices and models to act as staff to build up the perception of a globally successful brand. This method worked. This illusion was persuasive in convincing large companies to let Saatchi & Saatchi handle their business campaigns, including the British Conservative party, British Airways and many more global companies.

5. Charles Gordon – Property entrepreneur and self-made millionaire 

British entrepreneur Charles Gordon made his first million at age 21, by building a successful property business. When he began, the odds of him succeeding where slim due to racial stereotypical views in London (where he opened his estate agency). Instead of making excuses for himself, he decided to do whatever it took to succeed. Being young and black was a barrier to progress within the world of business. Instead of giving up, he came up with a solution.

When he met potential clients he acted as an employee instead of the owner of the company. This got him the results, he needed. He turned the barrier on its side, and used it as a ladder.

In Charles Gordon’s words: “Going all the way back to the beginning, no one knew Charles Gordon was a black man when I started out. I deliberately didn’t let people know because I did not want any preconceived racial stereotypes to work against me even with fellow black businesses. The power of illusion is priceless!”


Deji OK

Posted by Deji OK

Public relations consultant.

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