Thursday, January 5, 2012

Howard Schultz - Business Leader of the Coffee Cult

Many of us have a special relationship with coffee. It’s what we need to socialise or our way to wake up in the morning and part of our routine. Business leader Howard Schultz, noticed from early beginnings while working as marketing manager for Seattle coffee company Starbucks, that everyone has a special taste and way of enjoying the bitter brew. He successfully transformed our morning beverage into an international franchise that holds a majority of international markets and can be enjoyed from New York to Tokyo. So how did the empire of Starbucks come about and what has made Howard the business leader that he is today, being noted in 2006 as Forbes 354th richest man in the USA.  

Beginnings of a business leader
Schultz came from humble beginnings of a military father who had become a truck driver after the war. Through athletic prowess at school he excelled and was offered a scholarship for tertiary education, the first of his family ever to have the opportunity. From these humble beginnings one would n never imagine that Howard would have a chain store of coffee outside every possible office lease Tucson, Oklahoma. He went on to study at North Michigan University and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Communication and ventured into the business world. His first position was a sale agent for Xerox, but quickly worked his way up and began his career in the coffee world, working as the general manager for a drip coffee company before being introduced to work with Starbucks after visiting them as a client.

Why Starbucks was successful
Schultz became marketing manager of Starbucks after initial interactions between himself and the fledgling coffee company. After being sent to Italy on a sourcing trip for product, Howard thought that to be the leader in the coffee business in the US, Starbucks needed to focus on the cafe vibe of Europe to create a place that creates espresso and a place of interaction for customers. Original owners of Starbucks decided not to roll out the new project and Schultz started his own coffee group, only to eventually buy the Starbucks name and create his empire. This shrewd business leader broke the industry by focusing on his keen real estate expertise to buy correct space and refused to allow franchising, keeping his business whole. He left the business in 2000, only to return in 2008 to influence the world market of coffee and return Starbucks to top position with stores outside every office for rent London and other international business capital.

Schultz was also named Forbes Business person of the Year in 2011 for his attempts at job creation in the US market and his effect on US politics in this regard. Howard Schultz is truly a business leader for the ages and a man who changed the impact of coffee on the international market.

Bella Gray is a freelance writer with a keen interest in Business leaders and the commercial success of others.