10 Interesting Start-Up Stories
So last week we received quite a few inspiring stories of entrepreneurs who dared to dream big and managed to do something different with their lives. PosterGully is about to complete a year of being in business and we’d like to raise a toast to the entrepreneurship spirit by bringing you a list of 10 big entrepreneurs who literally started out with nothing, but never gave up. This just shows you that with a vision, hard work and a little bit of luck, anyone can make it big.
Inside each one of us there is an entrepreneur. Sometimes it just takes a little bit of time and the right opportunity to bring our inner entrepreneur to the surface.
One thing I do know for certain is that the internet has opened up a BIG door to a whole new world of opportunity for entrepreneurs. It offers new and innovative ways to start your own business at relatively little cost. It provides a ready made customer base that can be tapped into quickly with the right knowledge. It offers a never ending supply of useful and informative information to help you put your ideas into action.
1. Lawrence Page – reputed to be worth a staggering $17.5bn – at 37 years old, Larry is the co-founder of Google Inc .
With his parents guidance Lawrence was groomed for success in the IT industry and from the beginning Page was destined to be successful one way or another. But it was his collaboration with his soon to be co-founder, Sergey Brin, whilst studying at Stamford that was the turning point for the young Page. After struggling to hit it off as friends initially the pair started working on a project together that evolved into what we now know to be the Google search engine. Failing to sell the plan as they had wanted to at the outset, the pair were able to bring in enough funding to set up the business themselves and in September 1998 Google Inc opened in Menlo Park, California. The rest as they say was history.
2. Jeffrey Bezos – estimated to be worth in the region of $12.3bn – Bezos was born to a teenage mother in Albuquerque, New Mexico and later became known as the man who set up Amazon, among other things.
He is also known for his acute attention to business process details and is described as an executive who wants to know about everything and anything, from contract details to what he is quoted to have said in each Amazon press release.
3. Mark Zuckerberg
Facebook is the world’s largest social networking site boasting of 900 million users today. Just before it was founded in 2004, there would have been an idea proposed which stated that the world needed another Myspace or Friendster.
This is what it would have stated. “The world needs yet another Myspace or Friendster, except several years late. We’ll open it up to a few thousand overworked, anti-social Ivy Leaguers. Everyone else will then join since Harvard students are so cool”.
4. Henry Ford
Henry Ford (July 30, 1863 – April 7, 1947) was an American industrialist, the founder of the Ford Motor Company, and sponsor of the development of the assembly line technique of mass production. Ford did not invent the automobile, but he developed and manufactured the first automobile that many middle class Americans could afford to buy. His introduction of the Model T automobile revolutionized transportation and American industry. As owner of the Ford Motor Company, he became one of the richest and best-known people in the world. He is credited with Fordism, the mass production of inexpensive goods coupled with high wages for workers. Ford had a global vision, with consumerism as the key to peace. His intense commitment to systematically lowering costs resulted in many technical and business innovations, including a franchise system that put dealerships throughout most of North America and in major cities on six continents. Ford left most of his vast wealth to the Ford Foundation and arranged for his family to control the company permanently.
5. Walt Disney
Walter Elias “Walt” Disney was born on December 5, 1901, in Hermosa, Illinois. He and his brother Roy co-founded Walt Disney Productions, which became one of the best-known motion-picture production companies in the world. Disney was an innovative animator and created the cartoon character Mickey Mouse. He won 22 Academy Awards during his lifetime, and was the founder of theme parks Disneyland and Walt Disney World.
6. Ray Kroc
It was in his role as a milkshake machine salesman that Kroc first became involved with McDonald’s, a restaurant chain based in San Bernardino, California. The McDonald brothers were clients who had purchased multiple mixers. Grasping the franchising potential of McDonald’s, Kroc offered to work as a franchising agent for a cut of the profits. Ultimately, Kroc’s ambitions for the restaurants eclipsed those of the McDonald brothers. In 1955, Kroc became president of the McDonald’s Corporation. He bought out the owners entirely six years later. In 1977, after leading McDonald’s past archrival Burger King, Kroc reassigned himself to the role of senior chairman. He held this position until his death in 1984.
Under Kroc’s ownership, McDonald’s retained some of its original character while incorporating new elements. Kroc kept the assembly line approach to hamburger preparation that the McDonald brothers pioneered in the 1940s. Kroc’s key contributions to the restaurant were automation, standardization and discipline.
7. Levi Strauss
A customer, Jacob Davis, wrote to Strauss in 1872, asking for his help. Davis, a tailor in Nevada, had bought cloth from Strauss for his own business and developed a special way to make more durable pants. Davis used metal rivets on the pockets and on the front fly seam to help the pants resist wear and tear. Unable to cover the cost himself, Davis asked Strauss to pay the fee so that he could secure a patent for his unique design.
The following year, the patent was granted to Strauss and Davis. Strauss believed that there would be a great demand for these “waist overalls” as he called them, but they are best known today as blue jeans. At first they were made with a heavy canvas and then the company switched to a denim fabric, which was dyed to blue to reportedly hide stains.
8. Mary Kay Ash
Born May 12, 1918, in Hot Wells, Texas, Mary Kay Ash left the traditional workplace after watching yet another man whom she had trained get promoted over her. She started her own cosmetics company, using incentive programs and other strategies to give her employees the chance to benefit from their achievements. Mary Kay’s marketing skills and people savvy soon led her company to enormous success.
9. Oprah Winfrey
Media giant Oprah Winfrey was born in the rural town of Kosciusko, Mississippi, on January 29, 1954. In 1976, Winfrey moved to Baltimore, where she hosted a hit TV chat show, People Are Talking, after which she was recruited by a Chicago TV station to host her own morning show. Later, she went on to pursue her two-and-a-half decade stint as host of her own, wildly popular program: The Oprah Winfrey Show. Winfrey launched the Oprah Winfrey Show in 1986 as a nationally syndicated program. With its placement on 120 channels and an audience of 10 million people, the show grossed $125 million by the end of its first year, of which Winfrey received $30 million. She soon gained ownership of the program from ABC, drawing it under the control of her new production company, Harpo Productions (‘Oprah’ spelled backwards) and making more and more money from syndication.
10. Estee Lauder
Beautician and business executive Estée Lauder, born in Queens, New York, in 1908 (though there is some speculation that she was actually born two years earlier, in 1906), started a beauty company with a skin cream developed by her chemist uncle. After years of selling products on her own, she officially formed Estée Lauder Cosmetics Inc. in 1946. In 1953, her Youth Dew beauty oil took her company to a new level of success. Lauder was as innovative with her marketing strategies as her cosmetic products, eventually making her the richest self made woman in the world.