Recently, I was on a flight from Miami to Saint Martin and one of the movies offered on the in-fight entertainment list was The Founder. This movie was a biopic on Ray Kroc, a struggling milkshake mixer salesman who came across an interesting business in the 1950's, conceptualized it and turned it into the multi-billion dollar empire known to us today as McDonald's.

As I watched it, being an entrepreneur myself, I could find myself relating to many ideas, themes, and lessons presented in the film. The film is riddled with lessons in business and leadership but for time, I am only going to highlight three of them.

Here are the three lessons:

Train your eyes to see opportunity

In the film, Ray admitted that in all his years in the food service industry, he had never seen something like what the McDonald brothers had. What he saw was opportunity. I've always wondered why do only some people seem to get all the opportunities and others hardly any? The answer is because the ones that get all the opportunities have trained themselves to see it. You don't have time to waste so train yourself to see and seize opportunities when they come. The opportunity you have now you won't have 2 years from now. Are you ready for the opportunity when it comes?

Leadership is about taking risks

Ray was admittedly a risk taker, using his savings and mortgaging his home. If you are going to lead in something, you have to be the first one to take the risk or make the necessary sacrifices before other will join you. People will not follow you somewhere that you haven't been and if you haven't invested anything significant, chances are they won't take you serious either. Ray Kroc took a risk in being disruptive to the industry and as a result, he is now credited with revolutionizing the fast food industry through the franchise concept. The people who are willing to take risks now are the ones that will end up leading in the future.

Persistence is your biggest ally

Every great business concept takes time to grow and develop. This is also the time where you will face the most challenges and setbacks. It is during this period of time that one must learn to persist during these challenging times. During the time that Ray was building the McDonald's empire, he encountered one challenge after the other, whether it was the bank threatening to foreclose on his home or negotiations that turned sour with the McDonald brothers. Despite all of that, his persistence in going after the goal would not let him quit! You have got to make up in your mind that come what may, you are going to go after this with the tenacity that a pride of lions have while trying to take down an elephant for afternoon lunch! Now is not the time to give up, cave in, and quit but rather give it all you got!

These are just three lessons I learned from the movie but if you would commit to applying them just a little bit every day, the results will be mind-blowing. You have the ability to do and build something great that can and will leave a lasting legacy just as Ray Kroc did by:

  1. recognizing a unique opportunity
  2. taking the risk to be a leader in that industry, and
  3. being persistent until that dream became a reality

But you will never know until you try. So what are you waiting for?

Darren Wilson is an author, speaker, and entrepreneur based in Saint Martin. He is the author of four books including The Formula for Success that is available on Amazon. For more information, visit his website at or email him at