Some of the largest and most successful companies today started from almost nothing. Although many small business owners might not dream of becoming a corporate powerhouse, there is proof that it can be done. With a great idea and hard work, anything is possible! Here are some examples for inspiration:
1. Whole Foods
This company started with two twenty-year-old's, John Mackey and Rene Lawson Hardy, who had the idea to open a natural grocery store called Safer Way Natural Foods. They had a rough start with the store and got evicted from that location. Deciding to try again, this time the two saved money by living at the new store location. Two years later, their store merged with another natural grocer, Clarksville Natural Grocery owned by Craig Weller and Mark Skiles, becoming Whole Foods for the first time. This was a turning point for the company, with expansion into new areas quick to follow. Today, Whole Foods is worth over $12 billion and continues to grow every year.
2. Ben & Jerry's
Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield kicked off with their first ice cream shop in a rundown gas station in Vermont. They continued to push forward and used their knack for coming up with fun new flavors as their selling point. The company started selling their ice cream brand through distributors, and soon their popularity reached astonishing heights. Ben & Jerry's is now a worldwide brand and a household name, bringing creative flavors to consumers everywhere.
3. Burt's Bees
When it comes to natural personal care products, Burt's Bees is one of the biggest names in the game. However, they didn't start out that way. Burt Shavitz and Roxanne Quimby started the company selling candles in Maine. They used the leftover beeswax from Shavitzs' honey business to make the candles in a one-room schoolhouse. Quimby then began creating more personal care items from the wax and other natural ingredients. In 1991, Burt's Bees reached a milestone by officially becoming incorporated. In 2007 the company was bought by Clorox for around $925 million.
4. Yankee Candle Co.
The story of Yankee Candle Co. began with a 16-year-old boy named Michael Kittredge who made scented candles out of crayons for his mother. Once the neighbors were introduced to his candles, they began begging for the opportunity to buy some from him. This was the beginning of the Yankee Candle Co., with the first store opening just a few years later and expanding throughout Massachusetts. Now Yankee Candle Co. has 515 stores and sells its merchandise to thousands of wholesalers.
The Mattel empire had a humble beginning in 1945 with Ruth and Elliot Handler and Harold "Matt" Matson. They started work in a garage workshop, with picture frames as the first products. However, Elliot's dollhouse furniture business soon gained success, and the others decided to shift their focus onto toys. Mattel changed the toy business, advertising on popular children's television networks and debuting the infamous Barbie doll. This company had maintained its place as a trend-setting toy business, offering premiere products for its consumers still to this day.
These businesses, although big now, started very small. Through innovation, hard work, and creative ideas, the sky is the limit. Who knows, in a few years you might find yourself on this list!