It’s often interesting and inspirational to learn how hugely successful companies worth billions of dollars started and grew to the behemoths they are today.
Take Apple; formed in a suburban garage back in the mid 1970s it became the first company to be worth over a trillion dollars. What about Amazon? It started as an online bookseller in 1994 and is now a global heavyweight.
A US company who started in the early 1980s by developing accounting software progressed to offering cutting edge order fulfillment and stock inventory management using barcode scanning techniques in what is now a business worth over $5 billion.
Seizing opportunity for succes
Certain companies, most of whom are household names, show what’s possible through seizing the opportunity and having an enormous vision:
Originally an online bookseller, Amazon is one of the ‘Big Four’ tech companies along with Apple, Google and Facebook; its founder Jeff Bezos was officially classified as the richest business individual in the world in 2018 with a net worth of $150 billion.
Amazon now accounts for over 40% of products sold online in the US every year; the company has diversified further over the years into areas such as cloud computing, broadcasting and more.
Amazon is a perfect example of specializing and dominating a niche before diversifying.
Vying with Amazon to be the world’s largest company by valuation, Apple is also an object lesson in how to diversify from an established product offering to grow and expand commercial horizons.
From the original Apple Mac computer of the 1970s, the company broadened its reach into other consumer electronic areas, most noticeably with the original iPod portable music player in 2001 to its foray into the mobile phone market in 2007 with the iPhone.
Legendary co-founder Steve Jobs made changes to the infrastructure and product lines in the 1990s to transform the company’s fortunes, and since then they’ve had the Midas touch in most areas they’ve entered.
The iPhone quickly came to dominate and even redefine the mobile phone arena in becoming the world’s best selling smartphone. The iPad was an instant success when many thought tablets would never seriously catch on.
Apple enjoys huge customer loyalty and benefits enormously from their ‘integrated product offering’ where many users’ everyday tech such as their phone, tablet, desktop computer, music player and laptop is all – or nearly all – an Apple product.
Google is a generic term when referring to internet search and it’s the most visited website in the world.
The company provide many related services including cloud computing, advertising tech, online documentation, its very popular ‘Maps’ app along with hardware such as the Chrome Book laptops and its own Pixel smartphone – and it owns YouTube.
Brands such as ‘Google Drive’ (cloud storage), ‘Google Docs’ and ‘Gmail’ are world famous and used by millions as is the company’s mobile platform, Android.
As with other successful companies, Google has diversified but in their case mostly stayed in related fields under the internet services umbrella.
Google has come under criticism for market domination tactics and tax avoidance and from the US President himself for allegedly skewing search results to show his administration in a poorer light.
Led by well-known investor Warren Buffett, Berkshire Hathaway is constantly in the top ten most valuable companies amongst heavyweights such as Apple, Google and Amazon.
They’re a multinational holding company either owning or having significant minority shareholdings in companies such as Duracell, Kraft Heinz, American Express, Wells Fargo, The Coca-Cola Company and Apple amongst others.
Their growth was driven originally by Buffett investing carefully and for the long term in publicly traded companies in a diverse range of industries. This ‘slow and steady’ approach to investing has made the frequently quoted Buffett a world authority on the subject.
The company is classed as the third largest public company in the world and achieved the highest priced share in history at $300,000 each.
Plenty of inspiration can be gained from these and other successful companies; today’s startup could be tomorrow’s Amazon or Apple.