The Word “No” Made Him Into a Billionaire

The Word “No” Made Him Into a Billionaire

How the Word “No” Made Howard Shultz a Billionaire

Howard Shultz is an American businessman most famous for founding the global coffeehouse chain Starbucks. His story is about persistence, hard work, and refusing to accept failure. However, the key to his success may surprise you – the word “no.”

The Early Years

Howard Shultz’s upbringing was not an easy one. Born into a low-income family in Brooklyn, New York, in 1953, he faced many challenges early on. His father worked hard at various jobs to provide for the family, which taught Shultz the value of hard work and the importance of perseverance.

As a child, Shultz was determined to succeed. He worked hard in school and took on several odd jobs to help support his family. It was this drive that led him to pursue a college education. Shultz attended Northern Michigan University, where he studied Communications and played college football.

After graduation, Shultz began his career at Xerox. Although he enjoyed the work, he soon realized he wanted more out of life. He desired to build something of his own and was determined to make it happen. In 1981, he joined a small coffee company in Seattle called Starbucks. At the time, Starbucks was just a local coffee roaster and retailer with a few stores in the Seattle area.

The “No” that Changed Everything

Shultz quickly fell in love with the coffee business and had big plans for Starbucks. He believed the company could become a national brand with stores all over the country. But the owners of Starbucks at the time weren’t interested in that kind of growth. When Shultz pitched his idea for expanding the business, he was met with a resounding “no.”

This was a turning point for Shultz. He could have given up and moved on to a different company, but he didn’t. Instead, he decided to leave Starbucks and start his own business. He opened a coffee shop called Il Giornale in 1985, based on a European model he had studied in Italy. Il Giornale was a success from the start. Customers loved the high-quality coffee and the warm, welcoming atmosphere. Shultz’s business savvy was evident, and he was able to grow the business quickly.

Il Giornale’s success was a turning point in Shultz’s career. It proved that he had the skills and determination to succeed independently, giving him the confidence to take more significant risks in the future. He knew he could create a successful business from scratch and was willing to use that knowledge to build something even more critical.

The Return to Starbucks

In 1987, Shultz’s hard work paid off when he purchased Starbucks for $3.8 million. He became the company’s CEO and immediately began implementing his vision for the brand. He knew he could take the lessons he had learned from Il Giornale and use them to build even more success.

As soon as he became the company’s CEO, Shultz began implementing his vision for Starbucks. He saw the potential for the company to offer more than just coffee – he envisioned it as a gathering place. In this community hub, people could connect over a love of great coffee and food.

To make this vision a reality, Shultz began expanding the number of Starbucks stores in the United States and worldwide. He also introduced new products to the company’s menu, such as Frappuccinos and pastries. These moves were risky, as they required significant investment in both time and money. But Shultz was willing to take those risks because he believed in his vision for the company.

Over the next few years, Starbucks grew rapidly. People worldwide fell in love with the company’s coffee and welcoming atmosphere, and the brand became a household name. Today, Starbucks has more than 31,000 stores in 82 countries, and it is considered one of the most successful coffee chains in the world.

Shultz’s determination and vision were critical to the company’s success. He was not afraid to take risks and was willing to put in the hard work necessary to make his dream a reality. His leadership and innovative ideas helped Starbucks to stand out in a crowded market, and his focus on creating a sense of community around the brand has helped to make it one of the most beloved companies in the world.


Through his story, Shultz teaches us the importance of refusing to accept failure and pushing forward even when the odds seem stacked against us. He could have given up after facing so many rejections, but he chose to persevere and turn his setbacks into stepping stones toward success. This refusal to accept defeat and willingness to take risks has made him one of the most successful people in the business of our time.

Shultz’s experience also highlights the importance of using the power of “no” as a motivation to succeed. In a world where rejection and failure are inevitable, it is easy to get discouraged and give up on our dreams. However, Shultz’s story shows that we should never let negativity stop us from pursuing our goals. Instead, we should take each rejection as an opportunity to learn and grow, refine our vision, and push ourselves to achieve even more.

The lessons from Shultz’s story apply to business and every aspect of our lives. Whether pursuing our professional goals or personal dreams, we must never let the fear of rejection or failure hold us back. Instead, we should draw inspiration from Shultz’s story and use the power of perseverance to keep pushing forward, no matter what obstacles we may face.