There are a lot of lessons in life, and over the last 10 years, I’ve learned a few, and still grind on others.

No matter what decisions we make, we end up somewhere. Our best intentions are irrelevant.

Direction – not intention – Determines Destination

Profoundly simply and simply profound.

I watched the movie again “The Founder” and as an entrepreneur, it hit me how this movie is so true to every businesses journey.

It takes more than having a great product. It takes a lot of guts. Ray Kroc took a huge leap of faith based on a burger joint. He mortgaged his home and financially took an immense risk after several failures as a salesman.

“It’s about the name. It can be anything you want it to be, it’s wide open.” – Ray Kroc “The Founder”

He was shrewd, and at the end of the movie there was a moment of regret as to how he launched McDonalds, whether for movie emphasis or not, I believe he regretted how he did it, but not why.

Risk and Determination

It’s so risky to start a business. Without startup capital and time, you can’t these days. Taking a financial risk goes in hand with starting a new venture. Something that I struggle with. Having to acquire debt to create something that makes money is a concept others will look at you like you’re an idiot.

Sometimes that person, situation, or intention that we are loyal to is the root cause of the failure. The Founder illustrates this when Ray tries to innovate, save jobs, and re-coupe costs losses to stern fundamentals that are aged out.

Ray is backed into a corner over milkshakes. Its was literally Adapt or Die before it was a cliche.

It’s one of the saddest things to watch in the movie when the original founders would constantly say no, and not realize the damage it was doing outside their world view.

When you start something, you must be prepared for it to one day grow past you. Just selling burgers turned into something the two brothers were not prepared for, but should have been when they told their story to Ray.

They were going to close one store until one customer showed up. Then another and another. Beautiful.

That’s how direction, not intention, determines destination.

Sales is not Business

Ray had one advantage in his midst that, to this day, McDonald’s as we know it would not have existed without him. Sure, Ray made the decision to buy the real estate, and lease the property. But that idea was not his, and never would have been without Harry J. Sonneborn.

Sonneborn was a really big thinker, a true business man to Ray who was a salesman. Sales thinks immediate, business thinks way ahead. Sonneborn was McDonald’s first CEO after Ray Kroc. He was a business strategist before the phrase was probably coined, and took McDonald’s international while Ray was national at the time, and only because of Sonneborn’s advice about real estate.

Sonneborn told Ray that his existing partnership was killing the business. Not holding it back, but killing it. However, why did Ray not buy the land?

In one instance Sonneborn changed McDonald’s direction forever.