Recently, I’ve been reminded of just how important it is for an entrepreneur to remain innovative and open to new opportunities – whether you’re just starting out or 30-plus years down the track, like me.
It’s easy to become trapped thinking that you must run things in a certain way and meet certain expectations but, ironically, doing so could well be what holds you back from success.
Imagination and an open mind are priceless in business. It gives you the freedom to think outside the box and believe that it is possible to create or achieve more than what already exists. But, more than that, it’s also one of the most exciting parts of the ‘job’.
But there isn’t an entrepreneur on the planet who hasn’t had doubts about starting their next venture, or growing their current one. When that happens, it’s easy to stick to tried-and-tested methods and focus more on the day-to-day requirements of running your business. But that can prevent you from spotting a new opportunity or innovative approach that could help you achieve even bigger success.
Need proof? Here are five global brands, which all started doing one thing and then seized the unexpected opportunities that came their way to ultimately succeed somewhere quite different.
Twitter: It needs no introduction now, but Twitter was originally developed as an internal SMS service for podcasting company, Odeo, before being launched publicly in July 2006.
Tiffany & Co.: It may now be a luxury jewellery line, but the company opened in New York in 1837 as a stationery shop. Profits have certainly increased from the opening day’s $4.98 after the founder discovered how much his customers liked his diamond jewellery!
Nintendo: The company was launched in 1889 as a producer of playing cards. It’s safe to say it wasn’t hindered by innovation or a failure to embrace technology!
Marriott: You may be familiar with the name as an international hotel chain, but Marriott actually began in 1927 as a root-beer stand in Washington DC. It eventually grew into a chain of restaurants, before opening its first hotel in 1957.
Mattel: Harold “Matt” Matson and Ruth and Elliot Handler, the founders of the American toymaker responsible for Fisher-Price and Barbie, originally started out making picture frames in a California garage. Elliot began making dollhouse furniture from the scrap materials, which eventually led to a focus on manufacturing toys.
It just shows you that you can never know where an idea might lead, or what is around the next corner. The important thing is to make sure your eyes are wide open and you’re ready for all opportunities.