3 Small Business Success Stories to Inspire You - NoRiskSEO.com

3 Small Business Success Stories to Inspire You

Anyone who owns their own business, large or small, knows that it’s not easy. Many successful entrepreneurs started their companies from humble beginnings: in garages, with minimal employees, not much of a budget, etc. but they still managed to grow their business into a success. A lot of this has to do with hard work, determination, creativity, and the will to succeed. You might take one step forward for every 2 steps back, but if you’re willing to take risks and stick with it, chances are you’ll experience success. No 2 business are the same; each will experience their own unique challenges. But from those challenges come lessons that are universal across the small business community. Here are 3 small business success stories to inspire you on your journey to grow your business.

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Eric Yuan of Zoom

Zoom is an online communications platform founded by Eric Yuan. It’s used by more than 750,000 businesses in order to keep their companies connected across cities, states, and countries. It offers features like chat, video conferencing, collaborative work projects, and more. But even though Zoom is super successful today, it didn’t always start out that way.

Eric Yuan is originally from China, and he had to apply for a visa to the United States 9 different times. That means that he was denied on 8 separate occasions, but he didn’t give up. Once he finally made it to the US, he started working for a small communications company in Silicon Valley. The idea for Zoom came about when he entered into a long distance relationship and was trying to find a way to see his girlfriend outside of traveling 10 hours via train. Fast forward 7 years and his girlfriend is now his wife, Zoom has hosted over 20 billion meeting minutes and its clientele includes over ⅓ of the Fortune 500. Not bad for someone who was told 8 times that he wouldn’t be allowed to travel to the United States.

When asked what his advice is for fellow startup entrepreneurs, he said:

“Although the start-up journey is long and tough, it’s also fun and exciting. Don’t be afraid to start — just go for it!”

“You don’t need to hire the people who are the most qualified on paper; instead you should hire those with self-motivation and a self-learning mentality.”

“Your company’s culture is the #1 most important thing to get right. Everything else flows from there.”

“If your employees are not happy, nothing else at your company will go well.”

“Find the investors who want to invest in you, not only in your business.”

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Keeley Tillotson and Erika Welsh of Wild Friends

Keeley Tillotson and Erika Welsh were both in college at the University of Oregon when they decided to start making peanut butter in their apartment. They were both college athletes at the time, and neither one of them planned on becoming an entrepreneur. Tillotson was majoring in Spanish and Journalism, while Welsh was pursuing a degree in environmental science. They decided to start experimenting with peanut butter because they both enjoyed it and thought it would be fun to get creative with unique flavors like cinnamon and coconut.

They began by selling their homemade peanut butter to their friends and at farmer’s markets and street fairs, and they became pretty popular. They even appeared on Shark Tank and received an investor deal, though it eventually fizzled out after the show aired. But the friends didn’t give up; they started a campaign on KickStarter and raised over $10,000.

At this point the girls decided to dropout of college and commit to the business full time. They hired on Tillotson’s dad who is now their sales manager, and their peanut butter can be found on Amazon and across the country in stores like Costco and Whole Foods. They made over 4 million dollars in 2016; not bad for 2 girls in their early twenties. They have 11 different flavors of peanut butter and are also producing almond butter and sunflower butter. They’re thinking about launching new snacks, and Tillotson says she hopes Wild Friends will become this generation’s Annie’s.

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Jan Koum of WhatsApp

Jam Koum co-founded WhatsApp, which is currently the largest mobile messaging app in the the world. WhatsApp can be used on both mobile devices and desktops for a variety of communication purposes, including sending text messages, video calls, voice calls, images, documents and other media. It’s used to communicate individually or in groups, and now has a business platform so that businesses can use the app to provide customer service to their clients.

Koum was born in the Ukraine and grew up in poverty. When his family moved to California he decided to teach himself about computers in his free time. He learned so much that before founding WhatsApp, Jan Koum was hired by, and worked for, Yahoo! for 10 years. He created WhatsApp in 2009, and 5 years later Facebook purchased it for 19 billion dollars. Ironically, after leaving Yahoo! Koum applied to work at Facebook and was denied. He dislikes being called an entrepreneur, because he says “entrepreneurs are motivated by the desire to make money, whereas he only wants to build useful products.”

Entrepreneur or not, Koum knows how to overcome adversity and persevere to meet his goals. He could have worked at Yahoo! his entire life, or given up after he wasn’t hired by Facebook, but he didn’t. In October 2014, Koum donated $555 million of his Facebook shares to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation.

The Takeaway

There are many lessons to be learned from these 3 success stories; don’t be afraid to take risks, to invest in yourself, and to pursue new opportunities when others don’t pan out. Each of these entrepreneurs was faced with challenges, and they all had doors closed in their faces at one point or another, but what sets them apart is they didn’t let that stop them. They persevered and their companies succeeded because of their drive and their willingness to succeed. Are you thinking about starting your own small business? If so, be sure to check out this article to make sure your company gets off on the right foot! And if you enjoyed this post, definitely check out this one to learn about more successful influencers that are worth following online.

Image 1: twitter.com

Image 2: twitter.com

Image 3: forbes.com

Feature Image Credit: Evergreen Small Business

By Amanda Disilvestro on May 1, 2019

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