How Five Small Businesses Became Success Stories

How Five Small Businesses Became Success Stories

When you start a small business, you probably have dreams of making it big one day, gaining wealth and comfort from the efforts you put into making your company grow. Ask any entrepreneur and they will probably tell you that in order to become a success there are going to be hassles and headaches, bumps in the road, sleepless nights and hard work—lots of hard work.

We've compiled a list of five small businesses that did indeed make it big. They became hugely successful in part because of their perseverance; when they did come across a roadblock, they creatively found a way to climb over it. We can often learn a great deal from those who came before us and by studying what they did to become what they are today.

D.C. Mosquito Squad

Damian Sanchez was a firefighter based in Washington D.C. A father of four, he began his business part-time. The premise was simple: provide low-cost mosquito prevention for those living in the DC area. Since that part-time effort began, Sanchez has managed to grow the company into an employer of more than forty. They gross nearly 2 million in annual revenue. And his customer base has expanded immensely.

It really was a combination of hard work and ingenuity in the case of D.C. Mosquito Squad. He saw a need and sought to fill it. Not many business owners were rushing to solve the mosquito problem in Washington—Sanchez identified his opening and took a creative approach to address people's needs.


Arianna Huffington, born in Greece, did not speak English and yet chased after her dreams of gaining an English education. She attended Cambridge University and eventually she found her way to New York where she began the Huffington Post.

Initially, her endeavor was panned by those who saw it as alternative journalism. Yet she persisted and grew her online paper to the point where today it is worth nearly a billion dollars and was bought by AOL.

During a time when print media was waning, Huffington understood that as far as journalism went, it was becoming more and more about social platforms and online ease of access. She like Sanchez also found a gap and filled it.


Scott Lee is the founder of Gooroo Inc. Gooroo is an AI-powered platform that relies upon the latest in technology to provide optimal tutoring and learning experiences for its users. In just NY state Lee has over 1000 tutors.

Prior to starting Gooroo, Lee had founded a Korea-based tutoring company. He was also in the military and dabbled in the clothing business as well. Lee is gifted when it comes to turning small companies into powerhouses. He is a lifelong learner and uses his diverse array of experiences in just about every endeavor he undertakes.


Eric Yuan founded Zoom in 2011; his conferencing platform reinvented how businesses came to approach long distance partnerships and working opportunities. Yuan is an immigrant from China and initially, trying to gain entry into the US was a bit difficult. In fact, he had to try nine times before immigrating here—he did not, however, let this deter his dream.

When he finally came to the country, it was not long before Yuan worked his way up the ladder at Cisco. He eventually left to found Zoom, a company currently valued at a billion dollars employing over 1300.

He rose above the odds—he kept at it when the situation seemed impossible. Yuan went after the American Dream with his entire heart and ultimately, he prevailed.

Red Rabbit

Rhys Powell was a Wall Street trader. And yet, he knew this world was not the right fit for him; he thus started Red Rabbit in 2011. In its early inception, the company was focused on providing nutritious lunches to private schools. Since starting though, it has moved to provide meals to the underprivileged.

Red Rabbit offers nutritious lunches to public based programs. And even though they do focus on the lower income sector, Red Rabbit has generated millions in revenue and currently employs over 100 people.

Powell had a steady and secure job and yet he risked it to start his own company—one that has become phenomenally successful. It goes to show that sometimes risk can be good, sometimes you need to take that leap to make it happen.

So How Do You Make Your Company Successful…

There are a million tips and ideas for helping you to grow your business and make it ultra successful. Remember though, as with the lessons learned here, very often it is a matter of sheer determination, of not giving up and of thinking creatively to fill those gaps.

Some of the things that you can do along the way to ensure that your business stays on the right track and potentially has the power to become that breakout new company…

  • Stay organized; record keeping is crucial

  • Have a long-term plan and stick to it

  • Always be thinking; brainstorming new ideas is important for your company

  • Stay on top of what your competition is doing

  • Be consistent and also be flexible—there's room for both

  • Understand that it's going to be long hours with often very little downtime especially in the beginning

Learning from Success Stories

Looking at the success of others is an important way to understand how they got to where they are. You can follow their example, learn from the work they've done; be prepared though to do a fair amount of work yourself.

Small business success stories are important from an inspirational perspective. Let them motivate you to dream big and go after it. Remember in your journey to keep your strength of character and to keep that vision you have for your company. Also, consider the value you bring. What is your company adding to the community, the country, perhaps even the world? There's certainly nothing wrong with thinking big.

At First Union, we love helping small businesses with our loan options from short term loans to lines of credit. We want to see your business thrive. Call today!

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