BC Forbes was a Scottish-born American financial journalist and author, founder of Forbes magazine.
BC Forbes began his career as a journalist at the tender age of 17 in 1897, working as a reporter and editorial writer with the Dundee Courier and Weekly News. After enrolling in night courses at University College, he became a senior reporter, subeditor, and editorial writer within just one year. In 1901, Forbes moved to Johannesburg, South Africa, where he worked with the Johannesburg Standard and Digger's News, reporting on the Boer War. He would go on to join up with the newly formed Rand Daily Mail as a member of its first staff—the periodical would later go on to become the country's leading liberal paper.
Forbes immigrated to New York City in 1904, where he quickly found employment as a writer and financial editor at the Journal of Commerce because of his shrewd understanding of business and wide, international experience. He was offered a job by a London Newspaper and declined, but leveraged the offer to become the financial editor for the Journal of Commerce. He held that position while frequently contributing to the Commercial and Financial Chronicle. In his final role as an employee, Forbes moved to join the Hearst newspaper chain as a syndicated columnist and financial editor in 1911.
By 1917, Forbes founded his eponymous magazine, occupying the role of editor-in-chief and writing the bulk of the text. Among Forbes' most popular features were updating lists like "The World’s Billionaires" and "The 400 Richest Americans." During the depression, Forbes found new competition springing up, including BusinessWeek and Fortune magazines.
Moving outside of his publication focus, Forbes founded the Investors League in 1942 to unite owners of stocks, insurance policies, and other property into a group so as to advocate for their interests in financial matters of national policy. Forbes served as chairman of the board until 1950, when he retired.
Forbes was one of the most influential business and financial writers and publishers in history. He was renowned by various newspapers for his thorough and lively account of business personalities, and by the time he began to publish on his own, he was an objective expert on business and finance.
When Forbes said, "If you don't drive your business, you will be driven out of business.", he speaks from the collective understanding of hundreds or thousands of stories that he directly researched. But Forbes is no mere observer. He drove his career and, eventually, his own business in the same way that he observed other people doing it. Forbes' quote enables success in as much as it warns about peril: take the initiative, take charge, or you will find yourself at the mercy and peril of the fate that you've let in.
Do you agree with Forbes? What have you seen happen to people that have failed to drive their business? What successes have you had in driving your own business? Join the conversation below or stop by Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest to discover more inspiring business quotes and let us know what you take from this Forbes quote.