Most of the country just witnessed the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history. And now it seems unanimous that Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback of all time and Bill Belichick is the greatest coach in the NFL. We love comebacks, and the New England Patriots’ ability to comeback from a 25-point deficit and win the biggest game in the world, in overtime, gave us the greatest Super Bowl game, possibly of all time! But these business comebacks rival the Patriots’ accomplishment.
Is there anything comparable in the business world? Here are 3 of the top business comebacks of all time:
1. Apple – In 1985, Apple fired its founder, Steve Jobs, and sales almost immediately sank to record lows. And while the press started to write Apple’s eulogy, Jobs flourished in places like Pixar, launching the “Toy Story” franchise. In the mid-90’s, Jobs came back to Apple with an infuse of cash and amazing new products like iTunes, the iPod and eventually the iPhone. The rest is history. Apple’s market cap has risen from 5 billion in 2000 to 740 billion today.
2. Continental Airlines – When Gordon Bethune took over Continental Airlines in 1994, the company was in a downward spiral, getting ready for a crash landing. It was consistently ranked among the lowest airlines and it was hemorrhaging money to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars a year. In 1994, they lost $600 million and in 1995 they made $225 million. How did Bethune do it; by improving management and respecting and cultivating the workforce. With a new attitude and culture, and the same people, they focused every day on becoming America’s most-on-time airline. And their record still stands! Bethune said, “It wasn’t anything wrong with the employees, it was management. It always is.” This turnaround put them in line to merge with United Airlines in 2010.
3. General Motors – This company is about as American as the Super Bowl, and their story is almost as good as Tom Brady’s! The company just about folded in the midst of the last recession. But with the government bailout, GM used the money to fix and streamline their supply chain and manufacturing divisions. Then they released amazing new products. In 2014, GM sold 10 million cars making them the world’s third largest automaker. In that year, they had a net income of nearly $3 billion. That is a major comeback from their yearly loss of $31 billion in 2008!
It’s as American as football and apple pie. . .We love comebacks!
Author: Rich Stevenson
Rich Stevenson leads a network of young leaders investing in church planting and missions around the globe (www.malachinetwork.org). He has authored 5 books, including Secrets of the Spiritual Life and A Voice from Home. For more information visit: www.richstevenson.org.