Small Business Success Stories Part 2

To try to make the world in some way better than you found it is to have a noble motive in life.” – Andrew Carnegie

Welcome back to another round of fantastic startup success stories – businesses that started from nothing, and with a little (or a lot of) hard work and persistence, they made it pretty big. Success can be simple, but it’s not necessarily easy!

Zane’s Cycles

Having a well-known name isn’t everything, and many people are becoming hugely successful financially without the whole world having to learn about them. Chris Zane started fixing bikes before he was even a teenager, and later on, he got his parents to agree to let him take over a bike shop that was going out of business. This required borrowing money from his grandpa, which was certainly not interest-free (15%)! With his knowledge and confidence, he made a profit the first year and is now making millions annually.

I’ve mentioned this before, but the Hedgehog Concept is demonstrated in a great way here. The Hedgehog Concept comes from the Greek fable about the fox and the hedgehog, “while the wily fox knows many things, the simple hedgehog only knows one thing, but that one knowledge bite is highly impactful in protecting itself against danger. Discovering that simple but essential element is what created the success of the good-to-great companies.” — Good to Great by Jim Collins.

Carnegie Steel Corporation

(sold and became a major part of the US Steel Corp today)

At the age of five, Andrew Carnegie came to the US with his parents who were looking for a better life. He began working for $1.20 (per week…) at a factory and switched to other jobs as they presented themselves, always teaching himself more than what was expected and always on the lookout for more opportunities. He took advantage of the generosity of a Colonel who opened his library to working boys, and this served as the majority of his education. Being a hard worker and very determined, he quickly became a superintendent of the Pennsylvania Railroad at the young age of 24. His boss told him of a new type of investment in a trading fund, which he bought shares of and then began collecting dividends. As he built up his network in iron, railroads, oil, and various other related areas, he continued to invest in projects that made sense to him and eventually built his steel corporation which became the largest steel manufacturer in the world.

Never invest in a business you cannot understand.” – Warren Buffett


(known as eBay today)

Started in 1995 as a personal project, Pierre Omidyar began auctioning some of his personal items, and funny enough one of the first items sold was a broken laser pointer. Turns out the buyer was a “collector of broken laser pointers”. Who knew? More and more people began seeing the convenience and fun of an online auction and started posting their stuff, and other people started buying it until it became what it is today. Here is a photo of the first eBay homepage.


If you haven’t quite freed yourself from the lazy bug and you find yourself tied up in front of the TV every night, listen to some motivational podcasts, every day if you can until you reprogram yourself. Once you are ready to make a change and develop a good habit, it becomes easier and easier to keep working towards the things that matter to you without worrying about that dreaded laziness!
If your business needs a boost to get you to the next level, contact WCM for a small business loan, merchant cash advance, purchase order financing, or one of our many other financing options. We will tailor to your individual needs, and are ready to be part of your team!

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