One of the hardest decisions an entrepreneur can make is to invest in themselves, invest in their own business, and take out a loan to jump start their business. It can seem like a lonely world of financial hardship to someone waiting to take that first step and starting a business is not for the faint of heart. Running a business takes a lot of effort and late nights pursuing the most humble of early success. Even in an era of venture capitalists, finding the first push to get your ball rolling can be challenging. Yet among the giants of today, there are some of humble origins that required borrowing money at their genesis in order to succeed. Here are five such success stories from five different decades for would-be small business owners to take inspiration from.
1) 2004 – A Harvard student with experience writing code toyed around with social websites featuring head shots of other Harvard students in 2004. The seed of Mark Zuckerberg’s multi-billion dollar idea was born in his college dormitory, yet he didn’t have the capital to start The Facebook himself. He had to borrow money from friends to launch the website that now billions of people use.
2) 1998 – Sergey Brin and Larry Page appealed to friends, family, and even the faculty at Stanford to help them borrow enough money to set up some servers in a garage to launch their own internet search engine. That initial small-time loan led to Andy Bechtolsheim, Sun Microsystems co-founder, into checking out their business. He was so impressed by Brin and Page he invested $100,000 in their new company and the search engine giant Google was born.
3) 1971 – Few people will have faith in you like your mother can have faith in you and sometimes that’s all it takes. In 1971 Richard Branson borrowed money from his mother in order to keep London record shop from going under. Over 400 companies later Branson and the Virgin corporation are a major air carrier, record company, and are even launching commercial rides to outer space.
4) 1964 – A University of Oregon alumni holding a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and a Master’s degree in Business went to Japan looking for a cheap, high quality running shoe. What Phil Knight discovered was Tiger-brand running shoes. Knight borrowed money from his dad to purchase samples to bring back to the United States. After showing them to former track coach and future business partner Bill Bowerman, the two formed a partnership and Blue Ribbon Sports, the forerunner to the shoe company known today as Nike
5) 1923 – A little-known political caricaturist and cartoonist named Walt Disney started his own commercial company called Iwerks-Disney Commercial Artists. Disney was so short of funds he had to convince a friend just to let him borrow his first camera. What happened next was purely magical as Walt Disney was born.
The greatest decisions all of these entrepreneurs made was to gamble on themselves and their businesses. Getting help to get started is how all five of these power companies started and it’s how your business can get started too. If you have a great idea for a business, invest in yourself and get the start-up power you need to build your dream business. Sometimes delay and hesitation can kill more businesses than a bad economy so get your business off the ground today.
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