Buying It Back: Entrepreneurs Who Took the Leap (Again)

And the somewhat laughable life lessons they picked up along the way.

1. Zico Coconut Water:
Don’t let giants babysit your baby

When Mark Rampolla handed over Zico to Coca-Cola, he might have imagined sipping coconut water on a sun-kissed beach. Little did he realize, he’d be back at the counter ordering his own brand. Who knew? Big brands might gulp down smaller ones, not always to quench their thirst, but sometimes just to show off at the corporate party.

Key takeaway: Size does matter. Especially when you’re lost in a conglomerate where every brand is treated like a number and not a nurtured child.

2. Charles Schwab Corporation:
Taking back your ex-company can be less messy than relationships

So, Schwab sold his company to BoA, only to realise they weren’t treating it with the respect it deserved. His response? Buying it back and making a public statement. Literally. By taking it public. A corporate version of, “Thank you, next.”

Key takeaway: An innovative spirit is like a salsa dance. It’s not fun if your partner is doing the waltz. Find someone who can keep up with your steps or dance solo.

3. Chipotle:
Not all that glitters is a golden arch

McDonald’s sprinkled its pixie dust (or should we say french fry salt?) on Chipotle. But here’s the twist – Chipotle wasn’t really lovin’ it. Instead of a morning breakfast burrito, Chipotle believed in evening fiestas. They took their toys and left the playground, and look at them now, partying with guacamole on the side.

Key takeaway: Sure, it’s great to have powerful friends, but it’s even better to stick to your roots. After all, a tortilla chip without salsa is just plain sad.

4. Clark’s Botanicals:
The comeback is always stronger than the setback

Francesco Clark sold his company, only to realize that third-party investors sometimes change things faster than you can say “anti-wrinkle cream”. When life gave him lemons (or more like tossed them aggressively at his face), he made some top-tier skincare lemonade.

Key takeaway: If you believe in your vision, it might be time to whip out the corporate boxing gloves. Your customers will be your cheerleaders. Ding, ding, ding!

5. Cirque du Soleil:
Not jumping through hoops (yet)

Laliberté may be the ringleader of one of the most astonishing circuses on earth, but he’s not clowning around when it comes to business. He knows the art of the deal and is waiting in the wings, ready to leap… but only when the trampoline is just right.

Key takeaway: Patience, grasshopper. Just because you CAN doesn’t mean you SHOULD. Sometimes the best decision is holding your acrobatic horses

From coconut water to circuses, these entrepreneurs teach us that taking a step back can sometimes be the way forward. While selling might seem like the grand finale, sometimes it’s just the intermission. And remember, in the business world, as in life, there’s always room for a second act, a twist in the tale, and a splash of humour!


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