Typically when a company opens its doors, there is a business plan in place to sell a specific product or service. Usually, these business plans lead to success stories, of various scales. What is shocking at times, is a company’s complete metamorphosis into something else entirely. This story is about the biggest companies transformations redefining themselves just like a caterpillar emerging from a chrysalis as a butterfly.
Avon – From selling books door to door into becoming a giant online beauty retailer
Avon is a household name and has been for years. This beauty products company has always been a door to door sales business and now with the internet connecting all things, the business still continues to grow. However, it had very humble and interesting beginnings. In 1886, David H. McConnell began selling books door to door. The heart of the company never changed over the years, but McConnell decided to add a gift of perfume to entice female customers into purchasing his books. Realizing that he had stumbled on a potential gold mine, he shifted his focus and began the California Perfume Company which is now Avon.
McDonald’s – Where the real profit really lies
McDonald’s doesn’t actually make their billions on burgers and fries. Beginning with restaurants in 1954, Ray Kroc decided to look into real estate in 1956, just two years later. Since then, McDonald’s has exploded into one of the leading real estate companies in the world by owning acres of prime real estate. By owning all this great property, not only does McDonald’s collect an 8% franchise fee from the franchisees while charging rent for the space the restaurants sit on. That’s where the profit lies, not in Happy Meals!
DHL – Door to door delivering business becomes one of the biggest airlines in the world
Initially incorporated in 1969, DHL began as a door to door package delivering company. It was soon after that the owners, Adrian Dalsey, Larry Hillblom, and Robert Lynn saw the opportunity in becoming an international company which would require planes. Lots of them. Therefore, while they may not be the largest airline in the world, they do have a wide reach. DHL Aviation is a conglomerate of airlines which includes European Air Transport Leipzig, Blue Dart Aviation, DHL Air UK and Aero Expreso to name a few. It is a complimentary business just like real estate is to McDonald’s, since delivering packages worldwide requires efficient air travel.
Samsung – From textile and insurance business into becoming a global electronics giant
Another example of company’s transformations is Samsung. In 1938, Lee Byung-chull left his large family in the Uiryeong county and moved to Daegu to open a small trading company, to which he called Samsung. Over the first 20 years, Samsung diversified to textiles, insurance, food processing and many more products, yet it wasn’t until the late 1960’s that in entered the electronics business. Today, Samsung electronics are equal in popularity to Apple, its direct competitor.
Amazon – An online book store turns into the biggest online retailer in the world
Amazon is our latest example of companies transformations. It is the largest online retailer in the world, recognized as the fourth most valuable public company on the market. Jeff Bezos, founded Amazon in July 1994, which makes it the youngest in our review. Beginning as an online bookseller, through rivaling brick and mortar stores like Borders and Barnes and Noble, Amazon quickly diversified. Amazon now sells just about everything while making our life so much easier. If you can’t find it on Amazon, then it probably doesn’t exist.
These companies show us that while business plans lay out the potential for a company, being flexible to meet the needs of the consumer can make a small business into a booming operation.