Elvis Presley did not originally have a plan to become the huge star that he was. He simply wanted to make a record for his mother. One thing led to another, and he became one of the biggest stars ever. That is the part of the American dream—everybody can make it, even if they do not have a lot of money. While it may seem like a dream, some companies managed to pull it off. Here are some of the companies and people that didn’t invest more than $1,000, but ended up earning a whole lot more.
The most successful chewing gum became a business by chance. It all started with William Wrigley Jr. selling his father’s product: soap. To attract more customers, Wrigley offered little gifts with the soap. He noticed that the most sought-after gift was the baking powder. He responded to the market and started producing the baking powder. Soon enough, he offered chewing gum as a new gift. As you can guess, it led to the amazing Juicy Fruit and a big company was born.
This is one of the great examples of how locating a great niche and taking a chance that presented itself can turn into a lucrative business. Tom Buschman was an electrician in Avery International. He noticed that the metering rods that the company used had a 50% failure rate. Buschman took that opportunity and promised to build better rods if the company agreed to buy them from him. He made a deal and delivered rods that had only a 2% failure rate. His total investment was $500 as he worked from home, where he built his mini factory from things that he reused and repurposed.
Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Roland Wayne started with their idea about building an Apple computer. Wozniak built it himself. Soon enough, Roland sold his share of this little company to Jobs and Wozniak. To be honest, while the beginning was quite cheap, what really set it off was the investment of $250,000 that came later on. Still, the company itself started on far less money. This was a case of a well-noticed moment in the market. That’s something that you can achieve today only by keeping a close eye on online publications with blogs like ProOpinion, Toluna, and similar media outlets that keep track of public opinion.
Everybody knows about Barbie. You can love it or hate it, but you cannot underestimate the influence this doll has on popular culture. This is another example about how a successful business evolved. At first, Harold Matt Mattson was manufacturing and selling picture frames and dollhouse furniture. The first toy the company produced was a ukulele. However, once they created Barbie, their luck changed. Still, the start was very rocky, but the outcome has been tremendously profitable.
It can almost be said that eBay was an accidental success. Pierre Omidyar originally set up a website which was called AuctionWeb. Just as a test, he placed an ad for selling a broken-down laser pointer. He was surprised when the pointer was sold for something under $15. Soon enough, this website took over Pierre’s entire Echo Bay domain.
You can see that most of these companies were built on very little money, but were rich in creativity and a talent for feeling the market. These founders were not afraid to repurpose and reinvent their businesses once they realized that it was what the market demanded. Soon enough, they turned their small investments into extremely successful businesses.
Author: Dan Radak is a web hosting security professional with ten years of experience. He is a coauthor on several websites and regular contributor to BizzMark Blog. Currently, he is working with a number of companies in the field of online security, closely collaborating with a couple of e-commerce companies.