Learning from the Shoe Dog…Phil Knight
I am endlessly intrigued by successful entrepreneurs, even if their businesses are incredibly different than mine. So, when I came across Phil Knight’s Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of NIKE, I immediately read it.
Phil is the founder of Nike, and Shoe Dog is his very candid, very inspiring memoir that centres on building his epic global business.
A business he started on a $50 loan from his father back in 1962. Yes, $50.
What I love about Shoe Dog, in many ways, is an extension of that anecdote. From day one, Phil Knight was scrappy—he had passion and unbridled perseverance. He wanted to make Nike work, and he did even when that meant importing cheap shoes from Japan and selling them from his trunk.
In year one, Phil made about $8,000. Now, Nike generates about $30 billion in a single year. How’s that for ROI?
Even if your business is far from the sneaker industry, there’s a lot to be learned from Shoe Dog. Throughout the book, Phil digs into the simple steps he took to start and scale a now-massive global company.
Whether you’re producing sneakers or driving leads or making pizzas, there’s something you can take away from his methods – truly, they’re the simplest and most straightforward I’ve ever seen. I can really appreciate that.
I also appreciate that Phil considers himself more of an introvert. If you know me or have been keeping up with our newsletters/ blog articles, you know I am, too.
We aren’t flashy, loud-mouthed or over-the-top entirely the opposite. Often, that surprises people. I admit that I was surprised to read that the guy at the helm of Nike is shy.
Which seemed to be completely opposite of my assumptions—but, again, that’s why this book is so compelling. Take what you think you know about this brand and turn it upside possible down, in the best Way. You’ll also get a glimpse at the self-doubt many entrepreneurs face—even the great ones. That, for many of you, will likely be a great lesson.
We all have doubts and we all have questions—it’s OK!
Phil Knight doubted himself and the future of his company—and, early on, it was well-founded. As Nike grew, they had many issues with suppliers and with banks shutting them down both scenarios I could totally relate to.
Just reading about it reaffirmed that all businesses go through the same kinds of things I’ve gone through over the past few years. That really gave me the reassurance I needed. I’m confident you’ll have the same reaction.
My Advice to You?
If you want to scale your business, embrace the change and the challenges reading Shoe Dog will light the way. I’ve read it a few times now and I always find something new based on where I am in my business evolution.