Each business has a story. No matter if the business is a Goliath like Wal-Mart, or a local business owned by a couple or family, the business has roots in an idea. For each business owner, the story of their journey can range from monetary needs or the passion for a unique project. Each story is different though the reasons may remain the same. No matter the tale, the background behind each and every business is what fuels each entrepreneurship and brand.
1) Because I Wanted to See Marriages Succeed
I was eight years old when I watched my dad leave my mom. I never understood why they couldn’t work out their differences to avoid divorce. I thought there had to be a solution to their issues. From very early on in my life, I recognized that there are people out there getting divorces who instead of trying to work together, just cut their losses and give up. I wanted to help people, so I started the Business of Marriage. There are business principles that successful companies use to climb to the top. When you implement these principles in your marriage, there is a complete turnaround. You start succeeding in your relationship. My goal in starting this business truly rests in the fact that I don’t want to see any other eight year old watch one of their parents walk out of their life. Your marriage can succeed with determination and love.
Thanks to Dino Watt, The Business of Marriage!
2) Demystifying Cooking
When I moved to the US from Italy in 2001, I was really impressed by the American approach to food. I could notice frantic emotions in the food. That was truly awkward to me, as an Italian food writer and passionate home cook, coming from a country where food is not lived it as a problem, but very simply as a delightful necessity of everyday life. I noticed a separation: on one side the “cooks”, totally obsessed by details and (their definition of) “perfection” that as we all know, it’s far from being part of everyday life. On the other side, many moms and dads living busy lives, in beautiful homes with brand new kitchens, totally disconnected, almost scared by the stove and… Taking out all the time. But, in my opinion, cooking is truly not a big deal and it shouldn’t be. You do not need to be a chef to cook. Italian food is about simplicity and practical, quick recipes. So a few years ago I started writing about food again, this time for an American audience – hoping to demystify cooking and teaching many friends how to prepare simple recipes that could improve their everyday life. I started a blog and launched a recipe iPhone app, Cook with Grazia, with fast, 20-minute traditional Italian recipes adapted for the American audience, using local ingredients and measuring system.
Thanks to Grazia Solazzi, Cook with Grazia!
3) A Simple Project Turned Big
I actually started out putting together a simple website offering wake up calls from my dorm room. Back in 2001 there were only wake up call services you could dial into and none that were web-based. So after putting together a simple form and putting it online, orders actually started coming in, which meant I had to start making the wake up calls myself. It was totally unexpected, after a few sleepless weeks I contacted one of the dial-in wake up companies and worked out a partnership to run my calls through them and we’d split the revenue. After a couple years VOIP was coming more popular so I brought on a computer programmer to help create a system which sent the calls automatically through our own system. Fast forward a few years and we expanded the business into DialMyCalls.com which is now used by thousands of schools and churches to send important messages to people via phone call and text message in seconds. We have a great team of people and 2 offices, one in Florida and one in Texas. It’s been a wild ride but that’s the great thing about being an entrepreneur, you never know where you’re going to take the business or where the business is going to take you.
Thanks to David Batchelor, DialMyCalls!
4) Filling a Gap for Small Business Owners
I started my business to fill what I see as a gap in the information available to small business owners. If you want information about to to start and run an online business, there is lots of great free information out there. However, most businesses are not online businesses. The internet may be a part of their business but the majority of businesses still operate primarily in the offline world. The information on how to run this type of business (Dr.’s Office, Cleaning Business, Restaurant etc) successfully is lacking. We felt that by providing in depth how to guides we could fill that gap and build a loyal audience.
Thanks to David Waring, Fit Small Business!
5) An Accidental Business
We started our business accidentally! There was no manufacturer-level coupon for Facebook, so we created a unique coupon tool for one of our clients that ended up having reach greater than we ever expected. Based on that opportunity, we reinvented our company. Businesses have been using coupons to drive trial and usage for years, but with our social marketing background, we saw value in using coupons as “bait.” Now our clients use coupons to increase their Facebook fans, reward subscribers of their newsletter, learn demographic or geographic information about their consumers, or as outreach to bloggers. We reinvented the way businesses use coupons!
Thanks to Brandi Johnson, Qples, Inc!
6) Helping Small Businesses with Promotion
Our team has always been concerned with helping small, local businesses promote themselves and increase their customer base. Too many business owners that we knew didn’t have the resources or the training necessary to reach new customers and advertise timely deals, so we built a product that allows them to quickly and easily promote themselves online – for free. Tack takes everyday social posts and transforms them into online ads that will be featured on highly-visible, local publications. Since our technology matches the ads with relevant article content, it requires minimal effort from the advertiser and provides small businesses with a premium ad placement they may otherwise not have been able to afford.
Thanks to Aaron Goodin, Tack!
7) To Break Free
As my career and life have unfolded, my priorities and desires are much different than they used to be. I began my business to help me run away from all the things I no longer want: sedentary life in a cubicle, putting on a suit, putting on airs in a corporate environment, long commutes, ineffective meetings, corporate politics, and mostly uninspiring work. My business gives me an avenue for using my hobbies of writing, cooking, gardening, and sustainable living to inspire and teach others. And, I get to do all of that while in the comfort of my own home, in my sweatpants, and with the flexibility to write and work on my own schedule and from anywhere I choose. Starting Tomato Envy has shown me that there really can be a different way of working and living that fits me better than a traditional corporate career.
Thanks to Brande R. Plotnick, Tomato Envy!
8) To Help Elevate Brands Online
My business partner and I had both been the “internet guys” just working from home and making money online. We both had previously sold internet businesses and we were individually working from home. We met through a mutual friend and a need for an extra player on our softball team. Being the two “internet guys” we had heard much about each other through the years. We realized that there was a real opportunity to get out from behind our desks, get out of the house and help elevate other brands online. We are a brand elevation agency that utilizes internet marketing strategy to elevate brands. We don’t specialize in any specific industry because we enjoy the variety of clients that we get to work with. Through the years we have helped increase revenue for our clients by over $10 million.
Thanks to David Shiffman, Brand Elevater!
9) Making Giving a Simpler Process
I was sitting in a purple velour armchair in my neighborhood Starbucks in December of 2010 thinking about how to infuse the giving spirit of the holidays into my every day life, when I started thinking about an email-based technology that I had already developed for my environmental company. Perhaps it was the coffee, but I starting thinking “Why not use this two-click email technology to simplify donations?” I realized that the easier it is for people to be generous, the more generous they’ll be. EasyGive, as it was called in 2011, was created to do just that. Its groundbreaking work resulted in successful end-of-year fundraising campaigns, and continues to do so. Barely a year later, it was clear EasyGive was evolving to more than a donation technology (it can be used to pay bills or purchase items online; though it’s focus remains on donations) and relaunched as the world’s first two-click checkout to be powered by email: @Pay. Today, @Pay has a staff of 30, but the main focus is still in nonprofit fundraising. We’re working hard to make donating a simpler process.
Thanks to John Killoran, @Pay!
10) Because People Deserve a Second Chance
We started 911 Restoration because we believe that sometimes people have accidents and they need a fresh start. We were a carpet cleaning business, and we were doing well, but we figured that not only could we be doing better financially, but we could also be better stewards of the world around us at the same time. With that in mind we started a restoration business for people who have been through major disasters, or even just man-made catastrophes like a pipe burst in their basement. We felt that people in these situations needed someone on their side to guide them through the choices and then execute those decisions for them so they didn’t have to. After all, having a fire in your home can take a lot out of people mentally, and we felt it was our duty to not only make people’s worry go away, but also the devastation to their homes.
Thanks to Idan Shpizear, 911 Restoration!
11) A Fresher Beauty Line
I’d spent all these years in the health arena — writing articles for magazines and building a company, on the board for 24 Hour Fitness — and never, ever figured out that what I was slathering all over my body actually contained so many harsh ingredients and chemicals…ingredients that were already banned from my food. So when I was pregnant with my babies at 40 and 42, I had already been in the health and wellness field for 22 years (building one of the first corporate wellness centers in the country), it had just never occurred to me to think about personal care products. And that was really the genesis of Juice Beauty. At first there was horror turning over the labels of things I was using, and then it moved very positive, very quickly, when I realized I could do this a lot better. Now we offer award-winning antioxidant-rich organic skin care that doesn’t contain any of those chemicals, and meets the most stringent organic regulations in North America, supported by solid eco values. We don’t compromise on anything.
Thanks to Karen Behnke, Juice Beauty!
12) We Needed a Solution
Spontivity is comprised of six individuals that graduated from a state university. As a whole, the team has a continued belief that innovation and forward-thinking can come from anywhere – not just Silicon Valley. Spontivity wasn’t born out of a think tank, it was born out of real problems that we and our peers frequently experience – the problem of needing someone. We don’t have elaborate backgrounds or resumes full of fancy qualifiers. Really, we are no different than you – we just needed a solution. Being fully-funded, we are excited to help people like us live every day to the fullest by joining others in their community to share in their favorite activities. Thank you for helping out countless entrepreneurs. It really is encouraging to hear stories from my fellow entrepreneurs.
Thanks to Tyler Brewer, Spontivity!
13) A Business That Resonates
I wanted to find success by doing something that truly resonates with my own identity. Also, I wanted the freedom to set my own hours, choose who I will and will not work with and be excited about waking up in the morning to go to work. I always knew that I would be my own boss one day. I started my first business while a sophomore in college and a few others thereafter but I always maintained “safe” jobs with consistent paychecks. I also had this unshakeable feeling that I needed to be bossed before becoming the boss. Those previous work experiences as an employee gave me exposure in my industry, an extensive portfolio of commercial work and tremendous discipline that is necessary when working on your own and managing multiple projects. When I finally cashed out of employee mode, I never looked back. Starting a business of my own was the best decision I ever made. I work even harder now but I get to work hard for my own dreams and vision rather than for someone else’s.
Thanks to Tracy Southard, OceanWild Design!
14) Because There Was a Need
I started Tourism Exposed in March of 2014 because I felt that there was no online community that existed for students and career changers who want to find their dream jobs in the travel, tourism and hospitality industry. I realized that there was a lot of content regarding using the same set of ineffective tips over and over again (such as blindly submitting resumes to countless job boards) in the online environment to develop one’s career overall but they didn’t include anything that spoke to me specifically about how to do so in the travel, tourism and hospitality industry from a strategic standpoint. Also, there is a common misconception that despite the travel and tourism industry being the world’s largest industry, it does not offer real, good paying jobs other than working in a travel agency, airline or hotel and I wanted to change this through the material I provide on my website. I decided that there needed to be a place where none previously existed for those who want to bridge the gap between not knowing where to start and having a travel, tourism and hospitality career that they desire and deserve.
Thanks to Kimberly Ramsawak, Tourism Exposed!
15) To Improve Lives Through Technology
I always wanted to run my own business-to be an entrepreneur and to provide service that makes a difference. It was my dad who initially pointed out that so much of today’s technology, devices, and digital services are complex and not native to most folks in their 60s and beyond. So we started a business together to improve lives through technology. iTOK empowers aging adults to use computers comfortably and confidently, with the help of our friendly Technology Advisors. We’re all about helping people get the most out of the technology they have, so they can embrace it and enjoy the fun, independence, and connections it can bring. Technology is often the magic that keeps us all in touch-from mothers and fathers to sons and daughters and grandchildren. Family is the reason iTOK started, and it’s what keeps us going today.
Thanks to Seth Bailey, iTOK!