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Great things from small beginnings

Everything starts as nothing. It’s easy to look at the world’s largest companies and think, “I could never start something like that.” But, they didn’t start by trying to create the Amazon, Apple and Google’s of the world. They started by creating an online bookstore, a computer, and a search algorithm. So where did some of the greats start?

  • Google: In 1995, a couple of students called Larry and Sergey met when one was giving the other a campus tour. Computer geeks through and through, who rented a 2,000-foot garage for $1.7K a mth and started Google.

  • Wholefoods: In 1978, 25 yr old dropout John and 21yr old Rene, saved and borrowed money from family and friends to open the doors of a small natural foods store in Austin, Texas. Within 2 yrs they managed a merger with another natural foods store and opened the 1st Whole Foods Market.

  • Virgin: Branson epitomises the self-made entrepreneur. He started off creating a student magazine at 16 yrs old with just £300. In 1970, he founded a mail-order record company and within a yr opened his first shop on London’s Oxford Street – Virgin Records. Virgin has now become a brand which covers everything from media, cruises to space and is worth over £3.6B.

  • Starbucks: The first Starbucks opened in Seattle in 1971, founded by 3 former university students of San Francisco. One was a writer and the others teachers. They didn’t brew coffee or sell pastries, they sold beans. It was 8 years later, a former Starbucks employee, ended up buying the company and helping turn it into what it is today.

  • Apple: Apple’s first computers were built in a small garage by Steve Wozniak in 1976. He then joined forces with Steve Jobs and Ronald Wayne, to launch Apple Computer, from Jobs’ adopted parents’ garage. One of their first big orders was for 50 computers at $500 apiece, which they were able to produce in just 30 days!

These examples are to illustrate what can be built from nothing, but not that I think ‘big is better’. I actually don’t.

But big dreams are brilliant and so whether it’s a garage, a basement, or a back bedroom, every business has humble beginnings. It’s not about where you start. It’s where you end up.


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