From garage to global: 5 famous companies which started in garages

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The biggest and boldest companies out there all had to start from nothing. Now household names with products used the world over it is hard to believe that some businesses ever started small.

With considerable costs associated with setting up a business, overheads need to be kept to a minimum. This is why a large number of successful businesses in their early days all have something in common – they set up office in the garage. Somewhere along the lines amongst the bikes, garden tools, DIY equipment and of course some very hard work, business rocketed for the start-ups and the rest is history.

Here’s a look at five mega companies which started in their garage, but thought big.

1.       Harley- Davidson

A brand so iconic it has created a whole lifestyle, this is the motorcycle to own for anyone passionate about their bikes, so it is not altogether surprising that this company started in a garage. A true lover of motorcycles, the founder of the company William S. Harley created his first bike at the age of 21 in 1901. Combined with the expertise of his friend Arthur Davidson, they worked together to build their own bike from scratch in a friend’s garage. Two years later and the brand was formed.

2.       Google

It is hard to imagine life today without having trusty Google at hand to provide answers to all of life’s questions. Looking for an affordable place to work, Sergey Brin and Larry Page rented the garage of Susan Wojcicki who needed to pay off some debt and this is where the core of the search engine was born. Not only did Susan later become one of Google’s first employees, but the company later bought her entire house to mark its importance in the company’s history.

3.       Apple

Apple products are sophisticated and polished, so it is strange to believe that the first prototype was manufactured in a small garage in California. Their first project involved putting a personal computer which was later sold to a local retailer in an order of 50. Steve Jobs and his small team hand built the 50 computers in 30 days from their garage headquarters.

4.       Dyson

Every clean freak’s favourite, the Dyson vacuum cleaner was created by James Dyson having been continuously frustrated with his current model. Where traditional vacuum cleaners quickly lose suction, James took inspiration from large industrial sawmill cyclones and created a cardboard prototype in his garage. Determined, James eventually manufactured, marketed and sold his design and continues to innovate the cleaning world.

5.       Nike

In its early days as “Blue Ribbon Sports“, Nike not only made the most of garage space, but used the boot of Phil Knight’s car as a point of sales. The creators were track athletes themselves which allowed easy access to product testers as they continuously ripped apart designs to create the lightest and best pair around. Their first retail store in Santa Monica was the first step for going global.

Success to this scale is not unattainable; it just requires some very hard work, shrewd financial decisions and a motivated and driven workforce. You never know your business could be the next big business giant waiting to unfold.

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