5 Hugely Successful Companies That Started With Nothing – Guest Post
Your parents’ garage probably wouldn’t be your first port of call when deciding where to base a start-up business. However, many of the world’s most successful and recognized brands did just that. They managed to overcome seemingly insurmountable odds to now turnover billions of dollars worth of profit every year. These success stories just go to show that with the right attitude and a bit of luck, you don’t need a large amount of initial capital to create a successful business (or empire!).
The story of Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak founding Apple Computers in 1976 in the Jobs’ family garage is now famous. Not only were their premises a little underwhelming but their financial state wasn’t great either. In fact, when they received their first order for a computer, they had to buy the components on credit. Job’s Volkswagen van and Wozniak’s beloved HP scientific calculator also had to be sold to raise the funds necessary for their venture. It was all worth it though as nowadays Apple is one of the most recognized brands in the world.
You can hardly turn a street corner without coming face to face with this famous coffee franchise. However, it was in 1971 that two teachers and a writer scraped together $1,350 to make a business based on their passion for coffee. The business started out focusing on merely roasting the beans to sell to customers. It was only in the 80s when they actually decided to sell coffee and started making major profit. By the 1990s, Starbucks shops were opening at a rate of one per day and there are now over 20,000 cafes in 61 countries across the globe.
Although the name might not be too familiar to you now, this was the company behind the Barbie doll. A married couple called Ruth and Elliot Handler opened up a picture framing business in the garage of their home in California. However, Elliot soon came to realize that his doll houses, made using the scraps from the picture frames, was a much more lucrative product. They moved into the toy industry and were soon coasting on the profits of the growing up Baby Boomer generation. The company rapidly grew and are now the world’s largest toy company
At the tender age of 17, Fred de Luca set up a little sandwich shop to help fund his way through medical school. His first shop had only mediocre success and he struggled through days were only seven sandwiches were sold. However, lessons were learned and after realizing the importance of marketing and visibility to the fast food industry, the third shop was opened in a highly visible location to great success. Fast forward a few decades and this little sandwich shop is now one of the biggest fast food chains in the world with more locations worldwide than McDonalds.
After upping sticks from his well paid job at a New York City hedge fund, Jeff Bezos drove from New York to Seattle on hearing that the US Supreme Court ruled that online retailers would not have to collect sales tax in States that didn’t enforce it. After writing up the Amazon business plan on the journey, the company was founded as an online bookstore in 1994 in a garage in Bellevue, Washington. The company took over 6 years to make any major profit but the slow-placed business plan obviously worked as Amazon now holds the enviable title of the world’s largest online retailer.
Having a limited amount of start-up capital didn’t stop any of these entrepreneurs from achieving their ambitions. However, what they all have in common, apart from the fact that they started with very little, is that they all took risks. Whether they were selling prized possessions or changing business tack to ride market trends, what they lacked in finance they made up for in dedication and business know-how. However, if you do need a little financial help to help you hit the ground running, there’s always help in the form of private financing companies, banks loans or (as some of the entrepreneurs above made use of) some very trusting friends.
David Richards has over 20 years experience working for the Invoice Financing sector in the UK. He is currently the Managing Director of Gener8 Finance.