When it comes down to starting a business, it appears that there really is no “right” way. Some can toil and work for years and years before finally reaching it big, whilst others can get incredibly lucky with instant success practically overnight. Many of the most famous brands you know today will have started in a way that perhaps your business has too, and that’s simply inside a home or even a garage. The point to keep in mind is that it will always come down to what you’re selling and how you sell it – not how fancy your office is or how many years you studied in an exclusive college before starting your venture.
To put things into perspective, we wanted to discuss some hugely successful brands regarding how they looked when they first started out as small businesses.
Can you imagine a world without iPhones? Without MacBooks, iTunes, iPads, and iPods? Without Apple, we wouldn’t have any of these incredibly prosperous tech items. Beginning life in a garage located in California, Apple was essentially just Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs back in 1976. The two created several different prototypes for their own computer, but once they perfected it, they managed to sell 50 computers to a retailer for $500 each. Funnily enough, the home where Apple began is actually listed as a historical property now, and no doubt pulls a lot of visitors from Apple fanatics.
Before his death in 2011, Jobs had a lot of fascinating things to say on the development of Apple in 1976.
“The Apple II wasn’t much software, but the Mac was just software in a cool box. We had to build the box because the software wouldn’t run on any other box, but nonetheless, it was mainly software. We tried to sell it in a really cool box, but we learned a very important lesson. When you ask people to go outside of the mainstream, they take a risk. So there has to be some important reward for taking that risk or else they won’t take it.”
The name of Schwarzkopf has long been associated with hair care products, but it shouldn’t really be surprising, considering that the company has essentially been active since 1898. For more than one hundred years, Schwarzkopf has continued to adapt to every new era and constantly release innovative products. The company was started by qualified chemist Hans Schwarzkopf, who opened up a small drugstore in Berlin and started selling his instantly popular ‘powder shampoo.’ Around 1904, Hans Schwarzkopf then started supplying nearly every drugstore in Berlin with his own shampoo.
Granted, things were very different over 100 years ago, but it goes to show that if you don’t like the way something is being done, then find a way to do it differently, and hopefully people will take notice and respond favorably, then, the rest should be much easier.
You’ll probably know Mattel as the company behind some of the most famous children’s toys, including Barbie and Hot Wheels. However, it actually started out as a business which produced and sold picture frames in California. The founders were Ruth and Elliot Handler and Harold Matson, and when they made the decision to try selling some dollhouse furniture, they found that they not only had a knack for it, but people actually loved the products! When Mattel released the Barbie doll in 1959, the company would never look back from manufacturing toys.
Yankee Candle Company
When you think of scented candles, it’s hard not to immediately jump to the Yankee Candle Company. In America, 1969, 16-year-old Mike Kittredge didn’t have enough money to buy his mother a Christmas gift, so he decided to make his own candle using wax, crayons, string, and a milk carton. The candle went down a treat and soon, word started to spread about Mike’s amazing candles. In 1974, the technique of manufacturing was refined and the candles started selling across the country.
Proving that perseverance is everything, the founder of KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) – Colonel Harland Sanders – was said to be 62 when he started selling fried chicken at a roadside restaurant in Corbin, Kentucky. Now, the company has close to 20,000 restaurants over the world (and is the 4th largest restaurant chain), but it all began in 1930 when Sanders merely wanted people of his hometown to enjoy his cooking. Remaining humble and modest until his death in 1980, aged 90, Sanders genuinely loved what he did and was said to devote a huge portion of his time and effort into making KFC a success – which it’s fair to say that he definitely accomplished.
All of these origin stories are very different but have one thing in common: they all started with not much more than a great idea, some small funding, and a whole lot of dedication and determination. Even though there will always be ups and downs along the way, if you truly believe you were destined to own a company and sell a product or provide a service to the world, then there’s truly nothing stopping you.
Source: Business Start UP
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