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Truett Cathy

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Autor: 24  •  September 3, 2010  •  3,325 Words (14 Pages)  •  1,650 Views

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Samuel Truett Cathy

Executive Summary

As we enter the 21st century, the world is full of opportunities for entrepreneurs. The opportunity is what many entrepreneurs chase after. Just the idea of starting a business excited them. Entrepreneurs are people who have characteristics of a high need for achievement, a willingness to take moderate risk, strong self-confidence, and a passion for the business. We all question what is the best age for getting started. There is really no simple answer to that question. Most businesses require some background knowledge. A certain amount of time is usually required to gain the education, experience, and financial resources of starting a business. According to the textbook "Small Business Management" by Longenecker, Moore, and Petty, research conducted by Paul Reynolds reveals that the highest percentage of startups is in age group of 25 to 35 years old; Truett Cathy was a natural entrepreneur at the age of 8.

In this context is a quick overview of Samuel Truett Cathy's life as a child, experiences as an adult, education and training, personality characteristics, and entrepreneurial activities.


Have you ever wondered what it takes to be successful? Some people are not born into success or wealth. Many successful entrepreneurs had a vision they turned into reality. Samuel Truett Cathy is one prime example of a man who lived out his convictions. An inventor of the beast-of-chicken sandwich, mall counter service in the days before food courts and Sunday closing as a policy, Truett Cathy celebrated his 80th birthday in 2001. Many might think of him as a true modern-day role model and hero. Some sees him as the Chick-fil-a man. From his book "It's Easier to Succeed than to Fail", Cathy represented a real-life case history showing that a determined and energetic entrepreneur can overcome anything. Cathy stated, " The secret to success is not secret at all. It is very obvious, but we are too often blinded to the truth." (Cathy, p. 191)


Samuel Truett Cathy, born in 1921, is founder and chairman of Chick-fil-A, Inc. Cathy started the business in 1946 when he and his brother, Ben, opened an Atlanta diner known as the Dwarf Grill (later named Dwarf House). Today, Chick-fil-A is the third-largest quick-service chicken restaurant company in the United States. There are more than 950 locations in 35 states and South Africa.

Family Relationships

S. Truett Cathy came from a big family. He was named Samuel after a friend of his parents, and also named Truett after, George W. Truett, a pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas. His father, Joseph Benjamin, was an insurance salesman for Life and Casualty Company. Joseph collected on life and accidental death policies that yielded sometimes only nickels and dimes. Even though Cathy's father was a hard worker, he could not make an adequate living for his large family. Often, he would bring home chicken, hams, and other goods from policyholders who were too poor to pay their premiums in cash. Joseph verbally abused his wife. He relied heavily on the older children to take care of him. Truett's mother, Lilla Kimbell Cathy, ran a boarding house to help support the family. She worked like a slave, keeping house and cooking for her seven children and a houseful of boarders (Cathy, p.36-37).

Truett Cathy had four sisters and two brothers named Esther, Agnes, Myrtle, Horace, Glayds, and Ben. He was the sixth child in the family.

Selling Coke as a Child

Cathy developed his flair for business early in life. As a boy he exhibited no unusual talents except a sharp business sense. Growing up in a boarding house introduced Truett Cathy to hard work and taught him the value of diligent labor. He learned to shuck corns, shell peas, wash dirty dishes, set the tables, shop for his mother at the grocery store, and flip eggs and pancakes on the grill. By the time Cathy was eight years old he had figured out how he could make money. When he was in the second grade he realized that he could buy Cola-Cola in bottles of six for a quarter. He peddled the coke to his neighbors and sold them for five cents each and made a nickel profit. Cathy learned the key to his success selling coke from his neighbor. His neighbor told him, "If you'd ice these Cokes down, we'd buy more" (Cathy, p.37). Truett Cathy took the advice and met the demands of his customers. He later set a refreshment stand in his front yard and sold other soft drinks such as Orange Crush, Nu Grape, and lemonade.

Selling Magazines and Newspapers

Adding to his boyhood years as a beverage-stand proprietor, Cathy bought a $4 bicycle and developed a prosperous newspaper and magazine route. When the weather turned cold, he peddled magazine from door to door. He sold "The Ladies' Home Journal" for ten cents, which he profited four cents. For the "The Saturday Evening Post," he charged five cents and made a profit of a penny and a half. Cathy believed that a cent and a half was better than nothing. He thought that the rich people bought the ten-cent magazine and the poor bought the five cents magazine. Cathy stated, "I learned dependability and consistency, and the art of catering to the customer. I also learned to be a good steward over my money" ( When he was eleven years old, Cathy helped a newspaper boy distribute his papers in the early dawn. At the age of twelve, Truett Cathy got his own route for the Atlanta Journal. That was his daily job during his boyhood life. In addition, when he was twelve, Cathy received Christ as his personal Savior and decided whom his Master would be from that day on (Cathy, p.38).

Education and training

Truett Cathy attended Joe Brown Junior High School with his neighbor, Jeannette McNeil, who later became his wife. Also, they both attended West End Baptist Church. Cathy met Jeannette at the age of eight and secretly admired her very much. He lost track of Jeannette because she moved away. After Cathy graduated from high school, he and his brother, Ben, was drafted into the U.S. Army. Cathy stated, "God makes us into the persons He intends as we become obedient in the small details of life. I was ready to lay aside my own youthful endeavors and have my faith tested in the world of military service"


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