No one ever launches a startup 100% certain that it’ll become a world-dominating brand – but they can hope.
The road from humble startup based out of a garage to iconic business known around the world isn’t a strict one; the journey is different for every company that makes it. And, most of the time, it can be hard to predict which company is going to make it. In just about every industry, there’s a certain level of luck in play – whether its which musician is going to get the next big hit or which writer will get a huge publishing deal – but that doesn’t mean skill isn’t in play as well.
For a business to succeed and become big, there are a few things it has to get right. What are these things? Well, we’ll get to that – and we’ll do so by taking a look at some of the biggest startup success stories from the past few years. Here are some businesses that were positively tiny a few years ago but now boast names that are known all around the world.
Read on and discover what your startup needs to give it the best shot possible at joining them in the big leagues.
It’s weird to think that a few years ago if you’d mentioned Deliveroo to a friend, it’s unlikely they would’ve known what you were on about at all… And now that strange, wacky name is one that’s known throughout most of the world.
One of the main reasons we believe the company managed to rise so quickly was because of its branding. Compared to its main competitors, the aforementioned JustEats as well as UberEats now, Deliveroo just has a bigger sense of personality; heck, just look at its name. This is reflected in the company’s memorable kangaroo-face logo as well. There’s a sense of whimsy to how Deliveroo presents itself through its name and logo that other food delivery companies are missing, and we definitely believe that’s played a huge role in its success.
Similarly to Deliveroo, Upwork is a name that seemingly popped out of thin air one day. And just like Deliveroo, it quickly became the biggest known name of its industry; if you’re a freelance writer looking for work online there’s literally no way you haven’t heard of them before.
Upwork’s rise wasn’t quite as quick and dramatic as Deliveroo’s, though there is still a lot to be learnt from it. The business dates all the way back to 1999 when it was originally launched under a different name – Elance. Doesn’t have the same ring to it, right? It wasn’t until a rebranding and merger in 2013 (where it gained the name we all know it by) that the company really found a huge amount of success, which can be seen as pretty telling.
A strong name and logo play a big role in how people perceive your business and whether they decide to give it a chance or not.
Like a lot of businesses that ascend quickly, TransferWise’s success is due to a combination of a great image and a great product. As you probably know, most successful businesses rise fast because, well, they plug a gap in the market; they offer a straightforward solution to a problem that doesn’t have one yet. And that plays a large part in why TransferWise is now a company with nine offices and over 600 employees despite only being founded back in 2013.
Beyond having a great idea and executing it well, like the above two businesses, TransferWise has been branded really well. The name itself is a great example of this… TranferWise… It just kinda rolls off the tongue effortless, doesn’t it? While it isn’t as fun to say as Deliveroo, the brand’s name definitely emphasises that keeping things simple and memorable when it comes to crafting your company’s identity is definitely worth doing.
Slack was founded in 2012. Now it’s worth over a billion US dollars. Not bad.
If you aren’t too familiar with Slack, it’s basically a team-based software used by colleagues in work environments. It’s now used by thousands of companies around the world, having quickly become incredibly popular. How did the company get so big though? In an interview, founder Stewart Butterfield attributed a large amount of Slack’s success to them seeking feedback from real businesses on their product, helping them shape it into something truly great… And it’s a strategy that’s pretty hard to disagree with; market-testing is never a bad way to find out whether your product is any good or not.
Seeking feedback from real people on your business and its branding – such as its name and logo – can be a great way to make sure things are going in the right direction. It’s never a good idea just to rely on friends and family for feedback, because, well, if you want your company to grow and succeed you’re probably going to need to hear some hard truths on what needs changing.
There’s a pretty high chance you haven’t heard of Cabify before – but basically its Uber for the Spanish-speaking world. Similarly to TransferWise, it’s a business that has found a huge amount of success in filling a gap in the market… And, like Slack, it also had to adapt based on feedback, originally starting as premium taxi service before changing its focus to more affordable private transport.
Like many of the businesses, we’ve mentioned Cabify boasts a short and snappy name that rolls off the tongue as well as some fantastic branding. It doesn’t over-complicate things – and that’s always a good thing.
Did we miss out any big names when it comes to recent startup success stories? Be sure to let us know at all the usual places – Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. And if you’ve got any advice on getting your business to the top (and maybe dominating the world) be sure to send us that as well!