"We'd run out of money and we didn't have all of the regulatory requirements that we needed. My half-sisters were up in arms because it looked like we were going to lose some money. Everything was going wrong, except the fundamentals of the business were proving every single day that the idea was right."
In 1974, it looked as though Fred Smith's dream of a worldwide overnight delivery system was about to go up in flames. His family's capital was spent, the bank loans were due and the demand for a service of this kind was still unproved. But Smith hung on, and subsequent developments in the world economy proved him right.
Today, few in the business world could imagine getting along without an overnight delivery system like Federal Express. FedEx drop boxes and Fed Ex trucks are a familiar part of the American landscape, and FedEx planes circle the globe delivering everything from chocolates to airplane parts.
Fred Smith, Chairman and CEO of Federal Express Corporation, is known as the "father of the overnight delivery business," and the Marine Corps veteran who teetered on the verge of bankruptcy is one of American business's greatest success stories.