You have to have confidence. You have to keep asking why. These were two messages from former Kentucky governor and founder of the KFC franchise John Y Brown Jr. and Alltech president Dr Pearse Lyons at an Alltech seminar held alongside VIV Asia 2011.

Brown recounted how he purchased KFC and brought about its rapid expansion. He noted that if you want to be an entrepreneur, you have to build on an opportunity. He explained that he and all his franchisees worked together to build KFC, which went public in 1967.

He noted that an optimist looks for opportunities in every difficulty, and that you have to be better than your competition to succeed. He noted that at the time when he started to grow the business, mothers were wanting to cook less and spend less time in the kitchen, they wanted convenience. KFC was able to respond to this desire.

Integrity and opportunity  

Brown told attendees that there are more opportunities now than ever before, and advised that for a business to be successful it must allow its employees to spread their wings. But you must remain ahead of the curve and always act with integrity.

Lyons noted that amongst those factors important for success were a “can do attitude”, patience, understanding and working on yourself, and knowing when to grab an opportunity. He continued that you must play to your strengths and be a game changer. And while all the above are important, it is also important to remember philanthropic causes.

“If you think it, ink”, said Lyons, urging attendees to write down what it is they desire and to work out how to achieve it. And never be afraid of failure, he said, it is just one more step on the road to success.