Even big companies did not start out as the giants they are today. Everyone has to start somewhere, no matter how small. From loans, to riches.
Who doesn’t love the story of an underdog? Individuals fighting their way to success against all odds offer uncanny inspiration to everyone that would like to take a shot at achieving their dreams. Fortunately, there are more than enough examples of these success stories to continue pushing people to face their fears of the unknown and take the leap of faith in the dog-eat-dog world of business.
Here are some of the stories of successful businessmen who started their illustrious careers by doing what any other average person would do if they want to open a business: take out a business loan.
1. Dell Computers: Michael Dell.
With technology continuously growing and improving year on year, there is no doubt that it is one of the most lucrative markets out there in this modern day. However, before this boom even happened, there was one company that had gone ahead of the pack, bringing personal computing to a whole new level.
The company Dell was founded by Michael Dell in 1984, who dropped out from college, and asked for a loan from his grandmother. It wasn’t the most conventional business lending source, but it worked. Besides, it showed that it’s not so much the source that’s important, but what you would do with the loan, which will determine if your venture will fly off or crash and burn.
After operating at a budget from his condominium, the beginnings of Dell, Inc. saw sales in upgraded PCs and its peripherals for anywhere between $50,000 and $80,000. Today, his brand is one of the most recognisable in the market, and his net worth has been pegged to be in the billions. Surely, this is certainly a picture of what a successful businessman could be.
2. Whole Foods Market: John Mackey and Renee Lawson Hardy.
These two entrepreneurs started out young and broke. They had an idea for a natural grocery, but hardly had the money for it. To start them up, therefore, they had to borrow some $45,000 from family and friends.
Using this initial investment in their first few years, they eventually partnered with Craig Weller and Mark Skiles of Safer Way Natural Foods, and combined it to their natural grocery business. The result: the birth of Whole Foods Market in 1980. In 2014, it landed on the #20 spot in the Fortune 500’s exclusive list of “World’s Most Admired Companies.” Like Michael Dell above, their story shows that people can get funding from just about anywhere—at least for as long as you have supportive grandmothers, other family members, and plenty of friends.
3. Starbucks Coffee: Jerry Baldwin, Zev Siegel, Gordon Bowker.
If you enjoy a product so much, it’s probably going to be a bit more intuitive for you to enter a business related to it. Jerry Baldwin, Zev Siegel, and Gordon Bowker embodied this the most, considering how their professions—teachers for the first two, writer for the third—usually require coffee drinking, and lots of it.
Stereotypes aside, though, the beginnings of Starbucks Coffee were definitely a far cry from the coffee magnate that we know it to be today. The three friends originally just aimed to sell coffee beans, tea, and spices in their store. In order for them to get going, they put in $1,350 as investment, out of their own pockets. When they found their pace, they then approached a local bank and sought a $5,000 loan.
Fortunately, the bank approved their application, and from there, they soon expanded their products and services by serving coffee and pastries right inside the shop. This concept, while not exactly novel, still came out as fresh as their brewed coffee, easily captivating coffee lovers all over. Now there’s a Starbucks Coffee shop practically every 100 meters or so in the busiest of cities, and even in the quaintest of towns.
It’s what you do with a loan that makes you successful
The common thread among these three simple anecdotes is the role played by the loans that they took out when they were just starting their endeavours. It is important to highlight the fact that it is absolutely possible for anyone to become successful with their endeavours even if they should start with a loan.
As mentioned earlier, it doesn’t even matter if the loan was provided by your grandmother, or was made into a collective fundraising effort by your friends, or if you dressed up for the sake of impressing banks. What is going to be crucial is how the loan is going to be spent, utilised, or invested. Getting the loan is just the first step. Making it grow, flourish, and multiply are the most challenging aspects of it.
Take the leap and get started
Another thing that should be inspiring for anyone hesitating to go all in, these success stories would not have happened if these businessmen did not dare to take the leap. Timing could have played a huge role in their success, though. It could be that there already was a demand for their product or service, it’s just that the clamour wasn’t all that heard yet. These entrepreneurs, however, know how important it is to strike while the iron is hot. Knowing that they cannot miss out on the opportunity, therefore, they went ahead and took out loans before the window of opportunity shuts permanently on them.
The risk has obviously paid off, though, supported by their various accolades in the business community. For those who are just about to foray into the challenging, but highly rewarding world of business, it would do well to look to these individuals as inspiration so that they can also one day be able to experience and enjoy the hard-earned fruits of their labour.