6 Essential Success Tips from Ray Kroc

A while back, I read Grinding It Out. It tells the fascinating story of how Ray Kroc built McDonald’s.

One interesting thing is that he only started building McDonald’s when he was already 52! You might think that at that age someone’s ‘golden age’ has passed; they wouldn’t build something new, let alone something big. But the story of Ray Kroc proves otherwise. It proves that it’s never too late to build something big in your life.

I learned some success tips from his story. Here they are:

1. Believe That the Best Is Still Ahead of You

How could he make such a big commitment at the time when most people already think about retirement? How did the possibility even enter his mind?

A key factor was the mindset he had. He believed that the best was still ahead of him. He was eager for something more. He didn’t just stay in his comfort zone.

This mindset, if you have it, can make a big difference in your life. Believe that the best is still ahead of you. Believe that there is more to come.

2. Always Be on the Lookout for Opportunities

When you believe that the best is still ahead of you, you will be on the lookout for opportunities. You will open your eyes for them.

Kroc already had a good business selling multimixers at that time, but he didn’t stop there. He kept looking for the right opportunity. Eventually, he heard good things about a restaurant named McDonald’s that intrigued him.

Being on the lookout for opportunities helps you recognize an opportunity when it comes. Otherwise, you might miss an opportunity even when it’s right in front of you.

3. Act Fast When an Opportunity Comes

Now, what should you do when an opportunity comes? You should act… fast.

That’s what Ray Kroc did. When he heard good things about that far away restaurant, he decided to fly there to see it himself. And when he saw the great potential the restaurant had, he didn’t delay. He negotiated with the McDonald’s brothers to open his own restaurants.

There is a window of opportunity. If you are too slow, the window will close.

4. Think Big

The McDonald’s brothers could have built the chain themselves. But the problem was their way of thinking: they were thinking too small! They were already satisfied with their one restaurant and the comfortable life they had. They had no desire for something more.

Kroc, on the other hand, already imagined hundreds of restaurants across the country even before he came to the negotiating table. He was thinking big. He had a vision. And that makes a big difference.

5. Focus

When Kroc decided to take the opportunity, he focused on it. He devoted his time, energy, and money there. In fact, he didn’t even take a salary in the first years to help the business get off the ground.

He didn’t allow himself to get sidetracked either. He had a vision of how  McDonald’s would be, and he rejected short-term opportunities that didn’t help him reach the vision.

6. Build a Strong Team

One key to success that Kroc had was his team. He had a strong team. He found the right people and put them in the right place. He found people who built upon each other’s strengths and complemented his own weaknesses.

Many of these people stayed with him for years as McDonald’s became a worldwide brand. With their help, he could build the company fast.


I learned a lot of lessons from Kroc’s story. What about you? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.


  1. I just watched, The Founder. Ray Kroc had a lot of grit and was willing to do whatever it took to bring his vision to reality. There are some amazing people who do and have done incredible things in life at all ages. The lesson I’ve learned is the right time to act is always now. Forget what age you are. You’re never too young or too old to live what’s in your heart. Thank you!!

  2. Dear Donald,thank you for sharing the success story of Ray Kroc.its really motivating and great tips.

  3. Unfortunately, if there is any truth in the film about his story, then he also trampled all over people on his path to success and honesty or integrity were not a part of the recipe..

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