Five Most Successful Business People in The USA
Starting a business is hard work, requires a huge amount of grit and determination, and it can take a long time before you see any of your hard work rewarded. Yet in 2010 there were 27.9 million small businesses in the USA, and small businesses accounted for 99.7 per cent of U.S employer firms. So despite the hard work people are obviously still holding out for big rewards! Small business owners can motivate themselves to keep pushing forward because they never know, they could be “the next Bill Gates”: officially the most successful living businessman in the USA right now, and their small businesses could become multi-million dollar businesses! If we define success as having the largest personal wealth and company profit, then here are the five most successful business people and businesses in the USA, according to the Forbes 400:
You’d have to search far and wide to find someone who hasn’t heard of Bill Gates. The self-made millionaire co-founded Microsoft in 1976, after reading an article in the January 1975 issue of Popular Electronics. Although his most famous, Microsoft isn’t Gates’ only investment. He also founded Corbis, a digital imaging business, and became a director of Warren Buffett’s investment company, Berkshire Hathaway, in 2004. Buffett is a good friend of Gates and the second most successful businessman on this list! Now his focus is on the charitable foundation he runs alongside his wife, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Through the foundation Gates has already given $28 billion to charitable causes. According to Forbes, the only thing left to achieve on Gates’ bucket list is ‘don’t die’.
At 82 years old, Warren Buffett is the oldest billionaire on our list. Buffett is a self made millionaire, and CEO of investment company Berkshire Hathaway. He is widely considered to be the most successful investor of the 20th Century. Buffett is famous as a philantropist: In July 2012 he gave $1.5 billion to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The amount he has given over his lifetime is nearly $17.3 billion. Despite his immense wealth and his status as the second most wealthy man in the USA, Buffett is noted for his personal frugality and his adherence to wholesome family values.
Another technology millionaire, Larry Ellison co-founded the enterprise software company Oracle. He is also the second drop-out on the list (Gates failed to complete his degree at Harvard. Ellison failed to complete degrees at the University of Chicago and the University of Illinois). Ellison has his own foundation, the Ellison Medical Foundation. So far he has donated $445 million to the foundation, the purpose of which is to support research into aging, and any age-related diseases. Ellison is the best-paid executive of the last decade, and he also owns stock in Salesforce.com, NetSuite, Quark Biotechnology Inc. and Astex Pharmaceuticals.
Charles and David Koch are Chief Executive Officer (Charles) and Executive Vice President (David) of Koch Industries: a multinational corporation involved in manufacturing, investments and trading. The brothers are also philanthropists. Condé Nast Portfolio described David Koch as “one of the most generous but low-key philanthropists in America”. David runs the chemical equipment side of Koch Industries and both brothers are very vocal and active when it comes to politics. They were committed to ejecting Barack Obama from office at the end of his last term as President: not a successful project. Last year Koch Industries made an estimated $115 billion in sales.
No, not ‘The Waltons’ of happy family TV fame, but the family that founded the Wal-Mart chain. The first Wal-Mart store opened in 1962 in the town of Rogers, Arkansas, where the head office of the company still stands today. Originally Wal-Mart was envisaged as a discounted department store chain. Now you can buy almost anything from Wal-Mart including groceries, electronics, toys, clothes, and corporate gifts (such as those found at http://www.solo.co.uk/). Wal-Mart widow Christy Walton is the richest woman in the United States, and she still holds significant stock in the chain. In 2012 she received more than $430 million in Wal-Mart dividends, post-tax. You cannot underestimate what a giant Wal-Mart is: the company now has sales of $444 billion and employs 2.2 million people around the world.
Article written by Lisa Taylor, a freelance writer who covers topics as diverse as the latest exhibitions, reviews of art, books and music, self-help articles.