Starting a new business can be daunting. With so many businesses that fail, it can be scary to even think of starting a business. Maybe you have a great idea that you think has great potential to really make it big. Or maybe you are thinking of buying a business from an established business owner.
Whatever the case, starting a small business is like taking a leap of faith. But today’s economy cannot afford for you to be scared. Did you know that a large majority of businesses are small businesses run by people like you?
Whether it is that small corner market run by the family of two or the huge Italian restaurant run by multiple families, small businesses are an American tradition and a part of the American dream.
So get your business plan started and starting asking for some Angel investors. If you fail, try again. But who said you would fail? Here are 10 incredible small business success stories from the last 12 months that will give you the motivation you need to build the courage to start your small business.
This small business begun when Chris Zane convinced his family that he had what that old bike shop out of business needed. He borrowed $23,000 from his grandfather and paid 15 percent interest. Oh, was it mentioned that this happened when he was 16. His mother ran the store in the mornings while he was at school.
He sells bikes and repairs them too. He started out by fixing bikes at the age of 12 in his parents’ garage in Connecticut. His first year, he make $56,000 is sales – this year he expects to make a whooping $21 million. Not too shabby, Chris!
With today’s organic obsessed culture, everybody wants the option of eating food made of organic ingredients – even babies. Liane Weintraub and Shannan Swanson has success because they started a business that had yet to be thought of. Of course there was organic baby food options on the market, but you will be surprised by just how few.
So, Weintraub, a local TV reporter, and Swanson, a Cordon Bleu-trained chef, set out to fill that niche. After four years they have begun to make profit. They are predicting sales of $2.5 million this year. The brand is now carried in Whole Foods, Fairway, Tops, and other chains.
Oak Street Bootmakers
George Vlagos used to shine shoes for his father’s shop every Saturday when he was a young boy. His father, a cobbler, a Greek immigrant wanted to show his son how true, hard work is accomplished.
His goal was to convince George that choosing a career as a cobbler was too low and that George should move on to bigger and better jobs. That didn’t happen George started designing his own shoes – and if you want a pair, you will have to wait for 6 years. Yes, that is insane.
A electrical engineer and computer science graduate from MIT, Limor Fried runs a do-it-yourself electronic kit shop. She sells kits with design files, schematics for circuit boards, and any software code needed.
She hopes this will inspire future generations. The company was launched with $10,000 and she now juggles up to 200 orders per day. Way to go, Limor!
Kenny Lao and David Weber met while attending NYU’s business school. They joined a business plan competition and came in second in 2004. They though their ideas was a good one, so they opened a store. Things went bad and they were almost bankrupt.
They closed that location. Then they started all over using a food truck – it was an instant success. They earned a steady cash flow and they now cash almost 70 employees.
Erin Baker began by making nutritional breakfast cookies at her home. She started by selling them in little jars to people around her. She then found out that each cookie was only two Weight Watchers points, and work spread like fire.
He business jumped to 100 employees. She then moved from the diet crowd and started making new products to keep up-to-date.
Scoot Harrison, 30, founded this business that brings clean drinking water to developing nations, which have a hard time getting fresh, clean water.
He has funded almost 4,000 projects bringing clean and safe drinking water to almost 2 million people. His goal is to raise $2 billion to help $100 million people worldwide in the next 10 years.
Jason and Dustin Coupal created that little website that lets you know of all the gas prices. They then jumped to mobile apps.
Popularity skyrocketed. They have 6 million downloads today, and the website is always increasing in traffic.
Oren’s Daily Roast Coffee and Tea
A University of Pennsylvania graduate, Oren Bloostein started working for Saks Fifth Avenue in the corporate retail offices. He was 23 years old and hated his job in New York City. He wanted to he his own boss and cut out the middlemen.
With over $100,000 to invest with, which were a gift from his parents, his personal savings, and a loan, he opened his first location in new your. He makes almost $10 million in the city today. Keep it brewin’, Oren.
Joanna Meiseles set out to create a great place for children to get their haircuts. She now has 63 locations and plans to move to the U.K. soon. She started it all because she wanted her son to have the perfect haircut experience.
She loaded her camcorder and took him for his first haircut, but the experience was not what she had hoped for. She wanted to shoot a video to show to his grandparents. Her first store was opening in Framingham, Massachusetts. Keep making kids and parents happy, Meiseles.
About the Author
John Matthews is a freelance writer who enjoys writing on a very broad range of topics, and writes for businesses in many different niches, including software companies and market research firms.