I stepped out to the front yard to see a huge 4-wheeler parked in the curb. The neighbors next door were moving. The homeowner who lived in a different city had rented out the house, and for whatever reason, people moved in and out all the time. This was the fifth family we had seen in the last three years. The automobile into which the furniture was being loaded belonged to the company Two Men and a Truck. I had happened to read the story about how this company came into existence, and it is rather interesting how this business was one of many that grew from a very small idea.
In the early 1980s, two Michigan brothers, Brig Sorber and Jon Sorber, in order to earn some extra cash, used an old Ford pick-up truck to haul trash and move furniture in the neighborhood. Their mother Mary Ellen Sheets drew the stick logo for their company, and once the boys left for college, she took over the business. Investing a minimal amount of $350, Sheets bought a 14-foot truck and hired a pair of movers to run the show. The rest is history. The business picked up in an enormous way, and Sheets started franchising from 1989. Today, Two Men and a Truck prides itself as the largest franchised moving company in the United States.
A couple of other stories have come to my mind. Just a few days ago, I was sorting papers and documents in the study room, and as I arranged them in separate stacks, I used the sticky Post-it Notes on top of each pile to tell me where they needed to be filed later. These small pieces of paper with the strip of glue on the back are very handy and were created in 3M Company by Arthur Fry and Spencer Silver. It’s just a small idea for memo paper, but it has come a long route since it hit the markets in 1980. The Post-it-Notes were instrumental in contributing to the company’s $29.9 billion in net sales in 2012!
The old adage of having to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day has been going on for way too long with arguments both for and against the advice. The needs vary from one individual to another, and the simple health rule is that we need to drink enough water to stay healthy and prevent dehydration. It could be uninviting for some people to drink plain water which they find tasteless, and it was with that thought in mind that unsweetened flavored H2O was created. Kara Goldin, a former employee of AOL, was fighting her addiction to Diet Coke. Finding water plain and boring, she came up with the idea of making her own fruit waters that became a big hit in her family. She started off with an initial investment of $50,000 that paved the way for $30 million to land in her company Hint.
All ideas need not necessarily be high tech and sophisticated. There is a plethora of stories about big businesses emerging from surprisingly simple concepts. Also, as much as economic resources are a necessity, everything does not center around the money factor. More than the millions, creativity counts in the race to success. With it comes passion and the capacity to visualize and see into the future. We do not need a sledgehammer to crack a nut, as the saying goes. There can be a simple, easy way to find a solution to a problem. It’s basically how the gray cells work for the right thought to click at the opportune moment. Rightly it is said that sometimes the best ideas are right under your nose!