Small Business Success Stories Part 1
When starting a small business, or when you’re right in the firing zone after having gotten the business going, it can sometimes feel easier to just say “Enough is enough! At least I tried”. What most people don’t see is, they give up right before a breakthrough. The vast majority of entrepreneurs go through some sort of trial and error before finding business success, and what sets the household names apart from the rest of us is, they didn’t give up.
“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up” — Thomas Edison
Everyone that I know has become a big fan of this grocery store, with its reputation for not carrying products with GMOs, artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. They also can keep prices low. How? And where did it start?
In 1958 a man named Joe Coulombe bought a chain of grocery stores in California called Pronto Markets, and nine years later renamed it to what we know today, introduced a tropical/nautical theme, and carried every California wine they could. They began experimenting with their private label groceries slowly adding to the mix, experimenting with products as far as pantyhose (…?). Then they stopped selling pantyhose.
Over the last 50 years they’ve built a network of manufacturers and growers, completely cutting out the middleman, hence their great prices! Read the Trader Joe’s story year by year. It really is fascinating. Nothing in this world starts off with perfection.
You might be familiar with the show Duck Dynasty. Phil Robertson started life like it was the 1850’s, with no electricity, toilet, or bathtub, his parents growing and hunting most of their food. In school, he landed a football scholarship to go to college and even had an opportunity to play professionally, but he loved hunting so much more! He finished college with a bachelor’s in physical education and a master’s in education. Trying his hand at teaching, then a few other things, he decided to experiment with inventing a better duck call after the frustration of using ones he wasn’t happy with. He was successful and patented it, and then started his business Duck Commander. Little by little things happened, and his son Willie Robertson grew the business into a multi-million dollar empire.
Every woman who likes makeup has heard of Mary Kay. Mary Kay Ash, the founder, had some experience in the business world, but no formal education. Working for a company that passed her up for a promotion, only to promote someone she had trained, she was finally fed up and wrote a book for women about how to succeed in business. This book became the business plan for Mary Kay Cosmetics, which included incentive programs and other strategies to help her employees benefit from their achievements no matter what. Building up her marketing and people skills, the company became very successful.
These stories all started with a passion, a natural passion the owners had or developed with their life experience. They are not out of the ordinary, crazy geniuses. They’re just regular people like you and me who found something they cared enough about to go all out, without failure as an option.
Fight through the hard times if you believe in what you’re doing. Never stop learning and improving, and you and your business will undoubtedly succeed.
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