From passion to profitable business: Transforming what you love into what you do
Do you spend hours at your desk at work feeling bored and wishing you could be doing something you really loved? Are you passionate about something and dream about finding a way to transform it into a successful business enterprise? Starting your own business is a journey that is bound to be filled with ups and downs, but it has to be said that if true passion lies at the centre, then the chances are that you’ll be able to overcome even the greatest of obstacles.
Do you spend hours at your desk at work feeling bored and wishing you could be doing something you really loved? Are you passionate about something and dream about finding a way to transform it into a successful business enterprise? Starting your own business is a journey that is bound to be filled with ups and downs, but it has to be said that if true passion lies at the centre, then the chances are that you’ll be able to overcome even the greatest of obstacles. There’s no better time than now to try and turn what you’re passionate about into a profitable business, and here are a few things to get you kick-started.
Define your passion
It’s one thing to have a passion, but it’s another to turn that passion into a money-maker. The first step is to define your passion clearly, which will make it easier for you determine whether or not there is in fact a gap within the market that it can fill. Having a firm grasp on what it is you wish to offer will give you clarity on whether or not it’s a feasible idea and worth pursuing.
Become an expert
You have to ask yourself this question honestly: Do you have a thorough understanding of the industry you’re wanting to enter? If your answer is “no”, then you have to work on acquiring information with the aim of becoming an expert in your field, because at the end of the day it’s really no use having an amazing idea, but very little knowledge about the industry in which it will live. You need to know the industry inside out so that you can know how best to operate within it (this will include knowing your competition, price points etc). How do you achieve this? You talk to people in-the-know, you conduct research and you network as much as possible.
Offer a solution
Once you’ve identified a gap in the market, you’ll need to work on how what you’re offering, be it a service or a product, can make things better. This will also include differentiating yourself and fine-tuning your USP (unique selling point) – something that can put you ahead of the rest. Essentially, it’s about proposing something that is sustainable and offers the best possible solution to a current problem/need.
Partner with the right people
As you attempt to launch your business, you will encounter many potential investors, some who will turn out to be frogs and others who will be your prince. The important thing to remember is to choose investors that are the right fit for you and your business. They shouldn’t only be your source of funding, but ideally they should also share your passion and be able to provide you with useful connections within your industry – connections that will help your business fly.
Bottle the noise
Finally: stop listening to other people and unwanted noise. Whilst it may sometimes be important for you to listen to certain opinions and advice within business, it’s just as important to follow your gut, live your passion and create your own destiny – you may just be surprised by how much you’re able to achieve.
You’ll be taking a leap of faith if you decide to make a career out of your passion, but with the right approach, guidance and planning, you may just be the next successful entrepreneur to take the start-up industry by storm.
Sage One can be there for you when take that leap of faith –contact us today and let us be by your side as you transform your passion into a growing small business.
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Expanding your business: What you need to know
Whilst some small businesses are highly profitable as they are, there are others that simply cannot help but expand. As with most things in business, growth can be a double-edged sword: if the process is managed effectively, profitability can soar, but if not, the results can be disastrous. That’s why it’s imperative to do thorough research and planning beforehand.
Whilst some small businesses are highly profitable as they are, there are others that simply cannot help but expand. As with most things in business, growth can be a double-edged sword: if the process is managed effectively, profitability can soar, but if not, the results can be disastrous. That’s why it’s imperative to do thorough research and planning beforehand. The most important thing is to answer this question honestly: “Am I in the position to expand my business?” Timing is everything so choosing the right time to expand your business is crucial. Sometimes you just have to take the leap but biting off more than you can chew can end up being to your business’s detriment, so be 100% sure it’s the right move for you. Here are some suggestions for how you can grow once you’ve made the decision to expand.
Open a new location
Nothing says expansion quite like setting up shop somewhere else. Deciding to open up a new store or office is a big move and involves lots of time, effort and finances, so it’s a decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. If you’re satisfied with how successful your current locations are and you feel that others will be able to run without you being present for the most part, then by all means, expand away. If you’re hesitant though, then maybe hold fire on expanding in this way for the moment.
Another option: If you’re not ready to open in a new location for now, why not consider franchising? Your franchisees will take on the risk of setting up the new spot, however, you’ll still have to manage all the franchises overall, so again time and effort are things to take into account.
Staying competitive within your specific industry is key if your business is going to thrive. In some instances, diversification is the answer to maintaining your competitive edge. This basically means introducing a new product or service with the intention of getting people to spend more and at the same time, increase customer loyalty. It’s often a good idea to introduce a related product/service, one that perhaps is seen as complementary to those already on offer. If customers are already satisfied with what you bring to the table, chances are they’ll also be interested in other similar products/services you present.
Helpful hint: You can even consider offering a related product that isn’t your own but works well next to your other ones (and from which you can make a nice profit).
Dip those toes in other markets
This can include venturing into another country, area or potential target market. You will of course be entering unknown territory, so it’s vital you do plenty of research so that you are prepared for becoming acquainted with a new sphere. You have to fully grasp the wants and needs of the new space and the people within in it because having this understanding will allow you to spot a gap in the market and hopefully fill it successfully. It can be scary and overwhelming entering a new market, but with solid knowledge, you’re bound to get the results you desire.
Shift to online
The web offers a cost-effective way of diversifying as well as a very wide reach, something that is guaranteed to yield an increase in interest and profitability. By introducing online deliveries, for example, you automatically open your customers up to a more convenient and enjoyable shopping experience. If you deliver internationally, this will also mean that geography won’t be as big a hindrance as before, opening your business up to an entirely new group of customers. With all things digital reigning supreme in almost every aspect of life, why not use it to your business’s advantage and allow it to assist you in your expansion?
Joining forces with another complementary business can also be an excellent way to accelerate growth. Combining both your skills and experience can result in a powerhouse of a business that will ultimately raise awareness around both of your brands and hopefully reach many more potential customers – it’s really a win-win situation. You just have to be 100% sure that the business you’re choosing to get in bed with is the right one and that the alliance will benefit you both.
As with most things in business, choosing to expand comes with its hazards but as long as you manage your risks, do your research and put your faith in the right people, your small business is bound to go from small player to big player. Now all you have to do is spot those opportunities and be ready to pounce when the time is right.
Sage One wants to help your business throughout its expansion. Find the product that works for you and go from strength to strength with Sage One by your side.
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How to choose the right business for you
When it comes to business, most people would rather start their own instead of working for someone else. If you are one such person, you will know just how tricky it can be to choose the right business for you. There are plenty of things to consider, as you will be laying a lot on the line, not to even mention the fact that others (investors, employees) will likely be relying on the success of your business to get by.
When it comes to business, most people would rather start their own instead of working for someone else. If you are one such person, you will know just how tricky it can be to choose the right business for you. There are plenty of things to consider, as you will be laying a lot on the line, not to even mention the fact that others (investors, employees) will likely be relying on the success of your business to get by. Before you jump in the deep-end and start making difficult decisions, consider the following factors to help you choose a business that will work well for you.
What do you have to offer?
Think about your strengths and weaknesses, and let those guide you. For example, if you are a people’s person, you could probably do well in an industry that involves a lot of client interaction, such as the service industry. If you’d prefer not to have to interact with too many people on a daily basis, perhaps opening an online store is a better option for you. Either way, you need to establish where your strengths and weaknesses lie, as this will guide you in the right direction.
What does your skill-set allow for?
Nothing is more important than feeling fulfilled in your job. We spend so much of our time working, so it’s important to make sure that we enjoy as much of that time as possible. Most people are trained in what they enjoy most – either through formal education, or through gaining experience in that field. Look at where your skillset will point you, and consider starting up a business in that field. However, try and make sure that you can also offer something that sets you apart from your competitors.
What does your experience tell you?
Over the years, you are sure to have seen business models that work and those that don’t. Look back on the experience you have, whether it be in a professional or personal capacity, and pick up on areas that you think are lacking. Think about what frustrated you when you were a client at another business, as well as what you knew was frustrating your clients when you worked for someone else. Perhaps try to fill a gap in the market with your new business and look at what you can do to make clients’ experiences more enjoyable.
Where do you want the business to go?
Before you decide on what kind of business to start, think about where you want to be in five years’ time. Do you think you may want to sell the business, or would you rather take a hands-on approach and stay with it every step of the way? If the former sounds more like you, then consider an industry that allows for it, and do the same for the latter if that applies to you.
Starting a business can be challenging enough as it is. However, smart business choices can help lead you to a place where you know exactly what kind of business it is that you need to start. No matter what kind of business you end up starting, Sage One offers Business Start-Up Bundles, so that once you’re up and running, you can stay on top of all your business management needs.
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Lumkani: Saving South African lives
South Africans are many things, but with the number of start-ups that have been launched in recent years, it’s easy to see how “enterprising” is fast becoming an accurate way of describing them. More and more aspiring entrepreneurs are attempting to make their mark in South Africa’s burgeoning entrepreneurial market, many of who are driven by their need to make a difference in society and help their fellow brethren – and Lumkani is one such start-up.
South Africans are many things, but with the number of start-ups that have been launched in recent years, it’s easy to see how “enterprising” is fast becoming an accurate way of describing them. More and more aspiring entrepreneurs are attempting to make their mark in South Africa’s burgeoning entrepreneurial market, many of who are driven by their need to make a difference in society and help their fellow brethren – and Lumkani is one such start-up. We take a closer look at this social initiative and how it’s attempting to save lives, not just in South Africa, but in other parts of the world as well.
A harsh reality
While conducting research for his Honours thesis in engineering, co-founder Francois Petousis found the devastating 2013 fire in Khayelitsha (in which more than 4000 people were left homeless) to have an acceleratory effect on his study. The unfortunate reality that many members of urban informal settlements face is that the outbreak of a fire can have devastating effects on the entire community. This is mainly because of how densely packed the settlements tend to be, and as a result, fires spread rapidly and leave a trail of damage in their wake. The 2013 fire further highlighted the great need for a solution that would create a social impact and finally address the challenge of shack fires.
The birth of Lumkani
Together with UCT electrical engineering lecturer Samuel Ginsberg, Petousis founded Lumkani, after which they were soon joined by other team members, including the start-up’s director, David Gluckman. Their mission was to design an affordable product that could function as an early-warning system in the hopes of increasing the chances of safety for informal settlement community members when fires break out. Beyond the issue of safety, there was also the need to help reduce the amount of fire-damage caused.
How does the technology work?
The Lumkani early-warning system is based on heat detection technology, as opposed to the traditional smoke detector. This is because many lighting, cooking and heating methods used by people in informal settlements produce smoke. Lumkani’s rate-of-rise of temperature technology was designed to monitor the temperature within a home, resulting in an alarm being triggered when the temperature becomes alarmingly high. The main goal here is to alert people earlier when a fire breaks out, giving them enough time to get to safety and call for help. Grappling with the core issues surrounding settlement fires, Petousis and his team acknowledged that it went beyond just a single shack and extended to the entire community. In short, in order to tackle this problem, there was a need for a communal alert. The answer: detectors that are networked within a 60 metre radius. This means that when one alarm is triggered, all the subsequent devices within its radius will ring as well, leading to a community-wide response to the danger. This makes for far more rapid detection, as well as faster and more effective responses, all of which mean less damage. The system also stores GPS co-ordinates and when an alarm is triggered, text messages are sent off to the affected members.
The Lumkani team is now working on the next phase, which involves an alarm sending off GPS co-ordinates to emergency services – something which aims to reduce response time and limit the amount of damage by dealing with a fire before it becomes unmanageable. The start-up also has its sights set on the globe, where it hopes to bring about change in areas beyond South Africa.
In the meantime, since November 2014, Lumkani has made its way into many communities and offers close to 2000 households a fighting chance of beating devastating fires. It walked away with the prize for the best start-up in Global Innovation through Science and Technology at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in 2014, and has recently won the South African leg of Chivas Regal’s Win the Right Way competition. It will now join 20 other entrepreneurs from around the world in Silicon Valley for a mentorship programme later this year, where it stands the chance of winning $1 million. Good things have already been achieved, but great things are yet to come for this amazing South African start-up.
Trust Sage One’s effective software to be by your side as you make your entrepreneurial dreams become a reality.
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Six quick secrets to start-up success
Most successful entrepreneurs will tell you that there are numerous secrets to start-up success, let alone six. They’re also likely to tell you that even if you follow all the advice in the world when it comes to starting your own business, there’s no guarantee that it will succeed at the end of the day.
Most successful entrepreneurs will tell you that there are numerous secrets to start-up success, let alone six. They’re also likely to tell you that even if you follow all the advice in the world when it comes to starting your own business, there’s no guarantee that it will succeed at the end of the day. As with most things in life, it can be a gamble, but one that ultimately pays off if everything lines up in your favour. There’s no way of knowing the outcome at the beginning, but you can definitely put your best foot forward right from the start with these few tips.
Have a plan
Foundations are everything when it comes to starting a small business. If you don’t have a solid base from which to launch your idea, chances are things will crumble quickly. Know who you are, what you’re capable of and most importantly, what you want to achieve. Once you have a strong grasp of these elements, you can then start thinking about how you’re going to go about achieving them. This includes running your business idea by people you trust, conducting necessary research and then finally, coming up with a business plan. In order to give yourself the best chance at success, you need to have a clear idea of where you’re headed and how you intend to get there.
Many people have excellent business ideas but then never end up acting on them simply because they’re waiting for the perfect moment. The truth is: there’s never a “right” time. Once you’ve got everything lined up, it’s best just to take the plunge then and there – there’s no way your business will ever succeed if it never leaves the ground to begin with. So stop talking about it, and just DO it.
Build a strong team
In order for a business to move forward, flourish and succeed, it needs to have the right people behind it. For this reason, it’s your responsibility as the business owner to build a strong team of people during the fledgling stages. You’ll need employees who are committed, driven and experts in their fields, but most importantly, they need to share your vision. They are ultimately the ones executing your idea and bringing it to life, so you want to invest in people who have the skills required to do so, as well as the right attitude. Because your team also helps to shape the identity, culture and core values of your business, you need to ensure it consists of diverse and innovative individuals who will have a positive impact both now and in the future.
Don’t be afraid to fail early
Every business has its ups and downs, and if it’s going to encounter any major hiccups, it’s best that it happens early on. In most cases, small businesses take a few years to get up and running, let alone becoming successful. The key is to identify problem areas early on and make the necessary changes to improve the situation, and that’s only possible if things don’t work out as planned sooner, rather than later. Use the early years to learn from your mistakes so as to avoid them in the future and rather take your business to where you’d like it to be.
Equal parts passion and patience
As the saying goes: “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” This is something all entrepreneurs should remind themselves of on a regular basis, especially in the early stages. It’s easy to let frustration take over, but it’s important to remain as patient and as positive as possible. It helps to surround yourself with people who inspire you and keep you motivated, and the best thing you can do for yourself, your team and your business, is to stay passionate. It’s your passion that got you here in the first place and it’s that same passion that will give you the courage to take risks, to stay motivated and to never give up – so hold onto it and keep fuelling it.
Share the load
It’s impossible to take on everything yourself, so be sure to delegate and share the load with others. The last thing you want is to burn-out and so the only way to build a sustainable business is to entrust others with certain responsibilities. This will allow the business to be managed more effectively and for you to achieve your goals faster. Plus, you can’t be an expert in everything – rather let the people who are most suited to certain tasks handle them. That way you’ll get the best job possible done in the end and you’ll also be able to build the trust levels between you and your co-workers.
Succeeding in business takes time, money, resources and plenty of hard work, but if you’re lucky enough to turn your small business idea into something great, then you’ll know it was all worth it.
Another secret to start-up success is undoubtedly the reliable accounting and payroll software available from Sage One. Get in touch and find out more today.
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Reading between the lines
In the world of entrepreneurs it is of the utmost importance to know and understand how a business works, both internally and externally, as well as to find a behind-the-scenes team that holds significant expertise. Guiding the currency flow, money as well as ensuring a good marketing and advertising strategy, all the while taking care of the running and organising of business activities, are all necessary to allow the smooth development of the enterprise and the assurance of a profitable year.
In the world of entrepreneurs it is of the utmost importance to know and understand how a business works, both internally and externally, as well as to find a behind-the-scenes team that holds significant expertise. Guiding the currency flow, money as well as ensuring a good marketing and advertising strategy, all the while taking care of the running and organising of business activities, are all necessary to allow the smooth development of the enterprise and the assurance of a profitable year. Take a note from the experts’ pages to get the best sense of your business. Here is a list if six must-read books for any entrepreneur:
The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
One of the Business Insider Top 15 Great Books for Entrepreneurs of 2010, this work details a man’s battle against the conformist powers of society. The book encourages people to think as individuals, take risks to reach goals and take responsibility for both their successes and failures, despite society’s judgement. Motivating entrepreneurs to take action and follow their gut to achieve their goals in due time is this book’s main emphasis.
Rework by Jason Fried
Enthusiastically endorsed by Entrepreneur.com, this book is renowned for its insight and perspective. A book perfect for start-ups and managers alike, Rework covers everything from the guesswork of business plans to the need for prioritising tasks, whilst also covering ethical topics where business practice and ideologies may come into question. This work promotes the need for focus on one detail at a time, and the move away from multi-tasking. With the research and development of these business ideals delving into the deeper side of the working world, this book can help anyone in many facets of the business place.
The Innovator’s Dilemma by Clayton M. Christensen
This book focuses on helping the budding entrepreneur make sense of why things work or don’t work in the technology industry. While perhaps not a focus of all businesses, every company still needs a thorough knowledge and understanding of technology and its industry, because the reality is that the contemporary market relies on technology across the board. A book recommended by the likes of Steve Jobs and Andrew Grove, The Innovator’s Dilemma is a must on any entrepreneur’s book list. It explains why technology changes can derail even firmly established companies and points out how even when using the right models and practices, businesses can get side-swiped by major paradigm shifts which are bound to happen around emerging disruptive technology.
Good to Great by Jim Collins
Arguably one of the best books written on how to manage a successful company, Good to Great is based on ten years of research showing the clear differences between good companies and great companies. It is the understanding that a great company will last generations, while a good company is only a fad, with its success waning after a short period of time. A sure-fire way to restructure your business model around clear research and solid conclusions, this work is a must-read when looking to start your own company.
Hearts, Smarts, Guts and Luck by Anthony K. Tjan, Richard J. Harrington and Tsun-Yan Hsieh
Delving into science, research and introspection exercises,Hearts, Smarts, Guts and Luck helps people to understand their own personality within the working world and to identify the decision-making traits useful to their cause. For an entrepreneur, it is filled with tips and insights that are paramount to a smooth business agenda. Working off simple rules and structures to show needs and flaws in customer relations, it covers a whole array of aspects of a business that are often side-lined.
A highly recommended guide for any entrepreneur, this book is a breath of fresh air for the business management world.
The Hidden Agenda by Kevin Allen
Laying out the blueprints for determining what “hidden agendas” the decision-makers may have, this book is about transcending persuasion to rather create connections. Consumers have needs, wants and beliefs, so by encompassing all of these within a brand message you will not have to “sell” your product or service to them, because they will already be on your side. A great book for understanding the connection between customer and client, it holds much-needed knowledge and principals for anyone looking to drive a business.
With the right tools and the best literary insight possible, this collection of works can help you to better understand the ins and outs of starting a business. While you take care of your business (or read about improving it) why not let Sage One take care of your finances, giving your business the best start possible.
Start-up challenges: Common problems most start-ups will experience in the first year
Every business, big or small, is bound to encounter problems at one time or another, be it during the early days or further down the line. Challenges are, essentially, an everyday part of business – they are inevitable yet it’s how they are tackled that is the important part. Even when things get really difficult, the focus needs to be on finding the right solutions for the business’s current problems.
Every business, big or small, is bound to encounter problems at one time or another, be it during the early days or further down the line. Challenges are, essentially, an everyday part of business – they are inevitable yet it’s how they are tackled that is the important part. Even when things get really difficult, the focus needs to be on finding the right solutions for the business’s current problems. Starting your own business is both exhilarating and demanding, and because you’re new to the game, you may not entirely know what to expect once you’re up and running. That’s why we’re here to enlighten you and give you a heads up on a few of the problems you’re likely to face in your first year of business.
Experts say that the chance of a start-up making a profit in the first two years of business is slim. Many entrepreneurs start their own businesses thinking that they’re going to make an instant profit, yet this generally isn’t the case. Cash flow is bound to be a problem at the beginning, so it’s best to enter into business with the right expectations when it comes to the finances. It’s also advisable that you prepare for the worst right from the start: make sure you have adequate funds to sustain you for at least the first two years. If business does boom in those two years, then that’s excellent, but if not, then at least you’ll be as prepared as possible.
Many entrepreneurs struggle to manage their time effectively once they launch their start-up. This can be due to the fact that they’re in unfamiliar territory or simply because they haven’t planned things thoroughly. It’s vital that you manage your time wisely so that you are able to maximise it – something that will allow you to run your business more efficiently which will hopefully lead to growth and profitability. Things can and do pop up unexpectedly but the chances are that you’ll be able to deal with anything that comes your way provided you stick to a well-thought-out and achievable schedule.
All too often, small business owners believe they can take on everything themselves, without the help of others. This may work initially, but as the workload begins to increase, it becomes more and more difficult to manage alone. It may save you a little money in the beginning, as you won’t have to pay others if you’re doing the work, but ultimately, you’re likely to see a drop in the quality of work being produced if you’re doing it all on your own. You by no means have to hire an army, but having a few extra pairs of hands helping out will ensure that fewer mistakes are made, the quality remains intact and you as the business owner can hone in on things in the business that require your attention and passion the most.
Lack of Knowledge
It’s one thing to have a brilliant business idea, but it’s another to turn that idea into reality. Preparation is everything when it comes to starting your own start-up and without it, you’re bound to run into trouble. Part of ensuring you’re well equipped to venture out into the business world is having ample knowledge of the industry you’re hoping to break into, which includes having a solid understanding of your competitors, how the market works as well as its current trends. Knowledge is power and very often entrepreneurs may encounter problems in the first year or two that highlight their lack of it. The best thing you can do is to stay on top of industry news, changes and trends, and expand your business skills however and wherever you can.
Having a solid marketing plan in place goes hand in hand with having a solid business plan. Right from the beginning you should make a plan to allocate a budget towards marketing – it’ll play a vital role in promoting your product or service. New businesses can end up suffering unnecessarily in the early stages due to poor marketing, so once you have a clear idea of who your target market is as well as your competition, you can decide on the best approach for your business and choose the most suitable media through which to advertise. You need to get your name out there and marketing is key.
Starting your own business is hard and more often than not, you’ll find many an obstacle in your pathway to success. It helps to be as prepared as possible and to remember that it will take time before you start reaping the benefits of your hard work, so be patient. In the meantime, arm yourself with plenty of knowledge and keep those expectations in check – it will all hopefully be worth it in the end.
One problem you’re unlikely to encounter in your first few years of business, is trouble with your accounting system – all thanks to Sage One Online Accounting software.
You may also be interested in: Tips for Growing Your Small Business Successfully
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Humble beginnings: Successful businesses that started in a garage
Many well-known, hugely successful businesses of today started out small and very often, far away from a corporate office. In fact, there are multiple multi-billion dollar empires that began as a great idea somewhere other than within the four walls of an office. From humble beginnings to world-wide fame, here are some brands that were launched in the most unlikely of places: a garage,
Many well-known, hugely successful businesses of today started out small and very often, far away from a corporate office. In fact, there are multiple multi-billion dollar empires that began as a great idea somewhere other than within the four walls of an office. From humble beginnings to world-wide fame, here are some brands that were launched in the most unlikely of places: a garage.
Many must have been shocked when Jeff Bezos, one of the youngest vice presidents of a successful Wall Street investment firm, decided to up and leave, relocating to Seattle, Washington. Bezos believed that there was an untapped online retail market within the book industry and so he began to develop the software that would ultimately allow him to break into this market… in his garage. He launched Amazon.com in 1995 and today it is the world’s largest online retailer.
Fun Fact: Bezos held business meetings at the nearby Barnes and Noble bookshop, and that’s where many of his first deals were made.
Toy manufacturing giant Mattel was also born in a garage, but this time, in southern California. Harold “Matt” Matson, together with Ruth and Elliot Handler, made picture frames in a garage as a side project, with Elliot using the scraps to build dollhouse furniture. Ruth is said to have first taken a suitcase-full to a shop on Wiltshire Boulevard and before they knew it, they were manufacturing a range of toys and business was booming. Mattel has grown to become one of the most recognisable toy brands ever.
Fun Fact: Ruth created the first Barbie doll in 1959, named after her daughter, Barbara.
Walt Disney Co.
The largest animation and media conglomerate in the world began in Walt Disney’s uncle, Robert’s, garage in 1923, just 45 minutes away from today’s Disneyland Park in Anaheim, California. Then known as The Disney Brothers Studio, Robert and his brother Roy filmed the Alice Comedies, something that would go on to be the inspiration behind the much-loved Disney classic, Alice in Wonderland. Soon after moving to a bigger lot not far from there, the brothers signed a deal with Universal Studios to distribute the Alice Comedies, kicking off Disney’s reign as one of the most powerful companies in history.
Fun fact: Disney’s French family name was originally D’Isigny before being Anglicised toDisney.
Probably one of the most well-known of humble beginnings, Apple was founded in a small garage in California, the garage belonging to the parents of Steve Jobs, to be exact. The Apple Computer Company was founded in 1976, with co-founder Steve Wozniak building Apple’s first PC. From its first big order of 50 computers at a cost of $500 each, the company went from strength to strength, becoming one of the most valuable brands of today.
Fun fact: Today the Silicon Valley home is listed as a historic property of the city.
Everything has a beginning and, in some cases, some of the world’s most popular and prevalent brands have had particularly humble ones. The thing to remember here is that it really doesn’t matter where or how a great idea comes to be – what matters is that it’s great to begin with.
You may also be interested in reading: Keeping the Legacy Alive – Family run businesses that continue to go from strength to strength
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Image credits: http://blogs-images.forbes.com
Late Bloomers: It’s never too late to succeed in business
There seems to be a common misconception today, particularly among 20-somethings, that if you haven’t made it “big” by the time you’re 30, you’re practically doomed when it comes to finding career happiness. However, the reality is that success doesn’t have an age limit on it and at the end of the day, very often all you need is a great idea and a bucket-full of passion to give you the best chance of becoming a successful entrepreneur.
There seems to be a common misconception today, particularly among 20-somethings, that if you haven’t made it “big” by the time you’re 30, you’re practically doomed when it comes to finding career happiness. However, the reality is that success doesn’t have an age limit on it and at the end of the day, very often all you need is a great idea and a bucket-full of passion to give you the best chance of becoming a successful entrepreneur. We take a look some “late bloomers” who only really came into their own later on in life, yet that didn’t stop them from taking the world by storm – in fact in many ways, it just made the victory that much sweeter.
Vera Wang – Fashion designer
Wang wanted to be a professional figure-skater but when she failed to make the Olympic team, she made her way into the fashion industry. After being promoted to the role of Senior Fashion Editor for Vogue at the age of 23, she went on to hold the position for 15 years, before moving on to become Design Director for accessories at Ralph Lauren. Finding a surprisingly small selection of bridal wear available for her own wedding, Wang ended up sketching her own design and having it tailored by a dressmaker – this marked the start of her fashion designing career. She opened her first bridal boutique, Vera Wang Bridal House Ltd., on Madison Avenue in 1990 with the financial backing of her father – she was 41 years old. Today, Wang is easily the most prominent bridal wear designer in the US, but her repertoire has expanded to include couture, ready-to-wear clothing as well as fragrances.
Ray Kroc – Founder of the McDonald’s Corporation
At the age of 52, after years of selling milkshake mixers, Ray Kroc turned his attention to two brothers who had bought eight of his Multi-Mixers for their drive-through business. Impressed by their set-up and believing that they were on to something great, he became their new franchising agent and opened the first McDonald’s restaurant in Illinois. Business boomed right from the start with Kroc forming more and more franchises across the country, however the McDonald brothers were keen to keep their empire small. Unsatisfied with this, Kroc eventually bought the business from them for $2.7 million, growing it into the fast-food franchise giant it is today.
Grandma Moses – Folk Artist
Anna Mary Robertson Moses had always had many creative hobbies that included quilting and embroidery. She used her talents to decorate her home but it wasn’t until the age of 76 that she began to paint. Embroidery became too painful with her developing arthritis, so she took to the brush, as suggested to her by her sister. She painted scenes of rural life, omitting features of modern life from her landscapes, selling them for $3-$5. Her first solo exhibition took place in 1940 and for the next 20 years, her works were exhibited across America and Europe, many of which were reproduced on fabrics, Hallmark cards and ceramics. She passed away at the ripe-old age of 101 and is remembered as one of America’s most prolific artists. Her highest-selling work fetched an astounding $1.2 million.
Harland Sanders a.k.a Colonel Sanders – Founder of KFC
After hopping from one job to the next for most of his life, from farmer to insurance agent and railroad fireman, Harland Sanders used his first social security cheque to fund his new food-chain venture in 1952: Kentucky Fried Chicken. Originally, Sanders sold his famous fried chicken from the roadside restaurant at his service station, but he soon saw the potential for developing a franchise, opening the first restaurant in Utah. He was 62 years old when he founded the franchise and a mere 12 years later, he sold the hugely successful company for a then-whopping $2 million. Today, KFC is one of the world’s most recognised and beloved fast-food chains, with the Colonel’s name and images still being used as symbols of the business.
These are just a handful of the success stories out there of people who, despite their age, went on to become hugely successful in their chosen fields. So often the key to prosperity and successful entrepreneurship is simply just to do it – it doesn’t matter whether you’re young or old. Sometimes it takes a little longer for you to find your passion or cultivate a brilliant idea, but when all’s said and done, what really matters is that you do something with that passion or idea in the end.
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