Businesses That Changed Their Original Model
- See Which Technology Giant Started Out Selling Dried Fish
- Companies That Started Out Doing Something Entirely Different To What Made Them Succesful
Getting Started Is The Most Important Step
If you dream of one day running your own business and being your own boss then start now even if you think your idea is not good enough.
Some of the biggest businesses in the world today didn't have amazing products right at the start but it was their ability to change and adapt to their customers is why they became successful.
Stop waiting like these ones did.
Shopify Was Originally For Snowboards
Back in 2004 Tobias Lütke was a lowly web developer who had a passion for snow boarding. After recently moving to Canada he and a few of his friends decided to start an online store selling snowboards.
After becoming increasingly frustrated with the poor service and user experience Lütke put his programming knowledge to the test and within two months he had built his own e-commerce platform to sell snowboards.
Nintendo Sold Playing Cards
Nintendo is best known for its pioneering influence on the video game industry during the 1980s but the company was actually founded back in 1889 by Fusajiro Yamauchi.
With the invention of the microchip years away what was it that the company sold?
Playing Cards obviously.
Finnish Giant Nokia Sold Toilet Paper
If you need any evidence that you can change the nature of the business as it you go along then Nokia is the example you need.
Similarly to Nintendo of Japan, Nokia was founded way before the digital revolution of the 20th century which made them household names.
The telecoms giant was founded in 1865 in the Finnish town of Tampere as a paper mill.
Abercrombie & Fitch Sold Shotguns
Fashion brand Abercrombie & Fitch was founded in 1892 in New York by, you guessed it, David Abercrombie and Ezra Fitch.
It was a far cry from the trendy outlet that we know today as back then it was the brand of choice for wealthy businessmen who wanted to stock up on their shotguns, fishing rods before heading out into the country.
They even had a shooting range in their store.
Despite becoming a favourite for a number of prominent men such as Ernest Hemingway, disaster hit the company in the mid 70s when they were declared bankrupt.
David McConnell Sold Used Books Before Avon
The multi-billion dollar cosmetic company was founded in New York 1892 by David McConnell the son of Irish immigrants.
At the time McConnell was selling used books from door to door. After struggling to get his "foot in the door" (no pun intended) he noticed that his main customers were housewives and in an effort to grab their attention he started offering free samples of perfume and cosmetics before he pitched his products.
Realising that there was more interest in the perfume than the books he gave up on his books and set up Avon.
Instagram Was A Bourbon Appreciation App
In 2009 2-year-old Kevin Systrom was a Bourbon and Whiskey enthusiast who wanted to find out where the best places were in California to drink.
The Stanford graduate created the an app called "Burbn" where users would post pictures of their favourite tipple before tagging the bar and which area they were in.
The side project started to become serious when the self-taught coder met two Venture Capitalists (VC) in a chance meeting at a party for another startup company called Hutch.
Youtube Was For Video Dating
Whilst working at Paypal three young, budding entrepreneurs decided to create an online dating platform.
All in their late 20s the trio were obviously finding it hard to meet women in the tech industry as they registered the domain YouTube.com on Valentines Day 2005.
Chad Hurley, Steven Chen and Jawed Karim wanted the site to be for casual hookups - like Tinder but at the start of the social media revolution.
The dating part of the site never took off but their video upload service was very easy to use. Similarly to the story of Instagram the tech entrepreneurs redesigned the site purely for video uploads and YouTube was born.
Samsung Sold Dried Fish!
Like so many companies in the tech industry Samsung started out as a small and humble business but unlike most they started out selling dried fish.
Founded in 1938 by Lee Byung-chui the company originally traded in dried fish and general day to day groceries. However, the young and ambitious Lee wanted to expand his small and succesful enterprise into other new markets.
The adventurous Lee tried to penetrate the financial markets selling insurance but it wasn't until the 1960s when the company branched out into the electronics industry that business really did take off.
Gymshark Started As Dropshipping Protein Supplements
Whilst at University in the UK in 2012 Ben Francis decided to start a fitness themed website after some initial success creating health based apps for the iPhone.
He started the site whilst balancing time between his studies and working part-time at his local Pizza Hut. Life was busy for the teenager but more importantly he was strapped for cash at the time and needed a way to make money online.
He decided to take a risk and put up for sale a number of protein supplements that he didn't actually have in stock.
Once a customer had purchased he used the money to buy the product from a wholesaler for cheaper.
It was dropshipping at its finest.
Xerox Sold Photography Paper Before The Xerox Machine
Xerox started out selling photography paper in New York at the turn of the century under the name The Haloid company. It wasn't until the 1930s that their business model and indeed their fortunes would change.
After backing an invention by Chester Carlson the company invested heavily into bringing his idea of a copier machine to the mass market.
Start Now - Adapt Later
Starting a business is not about coming up with an amazing idea and then marketing it and becoming a success. Sure thats the aim but it never turns out like that as we have seen.
Put your ideas out there and see which one people like. If it doesn't work out try something new and keep testing and tracking your progress...eventually something will work.
Like Kevin Systrom of Instagram - he dropped his first idea and focussed on the things that were working - filters on users images.
However, in order to know that he had to get his ideas out there.