Cozy Up and Enjoy Some Success Story Cheer

fireplace public domainChristmas and the holiday season unite us all in at least one thing: Celebration!

With our shared interest in small business and entrepreneurism, I thought we should take this special time to celebrate small business success and the entrepreneurial spirit.

So let’s wrap some small business success stories in festive paper and put a big bow atop each one.

Low tech leveraging high(er) tech

We occasionally read about some young tech whiz who programs an app and makes a bundle of money. But don’t for a moment think that’s the only path to success. Back in 2006 sisters and stay-at-home moms Tammy Nelson and Nycole Pederson launched an online (that’s the tech part) business selling yard signs (Sassy Signs); what could be more low tech than that?

According to Family Circle, it cost the sisters $25,000 in startup manufacturing costs and after three years they were booking more than $200,000 in sales.

From delivery guy to franchise owner

Pakistani immigrant Nadeem Bajwa is the second largest franchise owner in the Papa John’s Pizza system. He came here in 1991 to pursue a triple college major of management, marketing and accounting. He took a job delivering pizza – first for Domino’s and then for Papa John’s.

He was soon promoted to management and in 2002 he signed a deal that gave him ownership of two locations in Ohio. Before long he was operating 127 locations in the US and Canada.

The American dream is alive and well.

A kid cares for pets

We have always taken inspiration from immigrants like Nadeem Bajwa who work hard and enjoy tremendous success. Through our history we have also been inspired by youth who come up with great ideas and couple it with a natural entrepreneurial spirit.

Houston eighth grader Lincoln Dow is an example of a young man with an idea that he is set on pursuing. After once having to consign his pet Blue Doberman to an airplane cargo hold, he decided to start his own pet transport business: People and Pets Dog Airlines.

The 14-year-old pilots a single engine plane and his plan is to use it to transport pets in comfort to virtually any location. The pets will ride in the back seat and Lincoln will make stops whenever his passenger requires it.

Sounds like a (business) plan.

The best social program

Ryan Blair grew up in a poor home, in a bad neighborhood and surrounded by both drug and domestic abuse. With his siblings in prison and his mother an alcoholic, he became a ward of the state and turned to gangs as a replacement for the family he didn’t have.

His mom eventually straightened herself out and connected with a man who moved them out of their crime-ridden neighborhood. The boyfriend believed in Ryan and gave him the confidence to start his first business. In 2005, he founded a fitness and weight-loss business, ViSalus, that is now worth some $600 million.

Ryan took the gritty education he got in the school of hard knocks and used it to propel himself to success in the business world. What is the difference between Ryan and the thousands who opt to deal drugs or just become poverty statistics for our society to bemoan? Someone came alongside Ryan, helped him gain confidence and introduced him to life’s possibilities.

That is a true gift and one that is worth giving all throughout the year.