Mars is one of the world's largest confectionery and consumer goods companies. With four of the top 10 chocolate bars in the company's pocket, the men who founded Mars built a legacy for its three remaining heirs. But with the company being privately owned and the family often out of sight, investors may feel that the chocolate juggernaut and its owners have little to offer them.

However, with a history sprinkled with failure, drama, and brilliant product ideas, the members of the Mars family may have you believing in the power of chocolate. And key partnerships featuring rival Hershey (NYSE:HSY) and investor extraordinaire Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK-B) will give any investor a sweet starting point for finding other solid companies to add to their portfolio.

The slideshow below highlights three key lessons from the creation, development, and expansion of Mars.