Thoughts + Articles

How Apple and Ford Fixed Their Businesses

Don’t let living on past glories keep you from moving forward in your business:

We all enjoy reliving our past “glories and successes” and how we overcame the obstacles that stood in our way. Too many people continue to live on those past successes and “fail” to take action and move forward. Learn from your past successes and keep moving forward in your business by prospecting, selling, and marketing no matter what state your business is in.

How did Steve Jobs save Apple?

When Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1997, the company he had co-founded 12 years earlier and was forced out of, Apple was 90 days from bankruptcy. He made the tough decision to bury the hatchet and revive Apple by asking for $150 million cash infusion from long time rival, Bill Gates of Microsoft.

When it was announced that Apple would partner with their rival, Loyal Apple fans booed! Jobs realized that without the cash, Apple would not survive.

Next, he simplified Apple’s product offerings. They had a dozen versions of the Macintosh computer and offered a huge assortment of other products.

Jobs new slogan was “Think Differently”. He asked, “Which ones do I tell my friends to buy?” When he didn’t get a simplified response, he drew a grid on the white board and wrote in the top two spaces, “Consumer and Pro”, and on the sides, “Desk and Portable”. On this grid he listed only “4” Apple product offerings; a laptop and desktop for business, and a laptop and desktop for personal users. This action reduced Apple’s product offerings by 70%, cutting operation expenses in half, reduced the workforce by 3,000 people.

Steve Jobs decisive actions and tough shakeup paid off! Apple went from losing $1.04 billion the first fiscal year following Job’s return, to turning a profit of $309 million 12 months later, in 1998.

Steve Jobs 3- step plan for saving Apple:

1) Revive Apple by asking for $150 million cash infusion from long time rival, Bill Gates of Microsoft.

2) “Think Differently” Campaign: Streamlined Apples products from 15 to 4 products, reducing Apple’s product offerings by 70%.

3) Cutting operating expenses in half and reducing workforce by 3,000 people.

Ford Motor Company hires Alan Mulally as CEO:

Alan Mulally, the former president and CEO of Ford Motor Company and former CEO and President of Boeing (for 37 years) saved one of America’s iconic automobile companies by shaking up the status quo.

Ford hired Alan Mulally in 2006 as CEO of Ford to save the struggling car company from bankruptcy. The automobile industry in the United States was known for running on a “status quo” basis. Detroit and the auto industry were sinking in debt, living on their glory days when Detroit was America’s wealthiest city by continuing to use outdated tactics and beliefs.

Alan Mulally was an aerospace engineer who had no preconceived ideas of how Detroit operated. He saw the potential and tapped into the talents and resources at Ford that had been ignored by the insiders.

Bryce Hoffman said, Mulally as CEO of Ford Motor Company followed the following 3-step plan:

  1. Streamlined their product line up just like Jobs had done at Apple and used the money he saved to give Ford’s remaining products Class-leading features and..styling.
  2. He worked with suppliers and the United Auto Workers Union to create a winning environment for the both of them. The concessions from the union were necessary to keep the automobile production in the United States and to profitably produce the new vehicles.
  3. Mulally relentlessly focused on team and culture. Ford shed its caustic careerist culture by showing the company’s executives how they could be more successful working together as a team than they could ever be as rivals. (Created his “One Team”: “One Ford” Mantra)

Mulally in a little over 3 years made Ford Motor Company profitable and they didn’t need the Government bailout!

Don’t let your business rely on past glories and successes. Keep pressing forward to change and improve your business. Just like Steve Jobs at Apple and Alan Mulally at Ford repaired their businesses with a three-step plan, so can you!

Madeline Frank, Ph.D. is an Best Selling Author, speaker, business owner, teacher, and concert artist. She helps businesses and organizations “Tune Up their Business”. Her observations show you the blue prints necessary to improve and keep your business successful. Her latest book “Leadership On A Shoestring Budget” is available everywhere books are sold. If you need a speaker contact Madeline at:


This entry was posted on Wednesday, October 25th, 2017 at 8:41 pm and is filed under Articles. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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