Tariq Farid started a flower shop in East Haven Connecticut at the age of 17. After seven successful years as a florist, Farid had a new idea – edible flower bouquets. So in 1999, Farid and his brother opened the first Edible Arrangements shop, going on to franchise the business in 2001. By 2012, the small business had grown to over 1,100 store locations around the world. In 2013, Edible Arrangements reached number 40 on Entrepreneur Magazine’s 2013 Entrepreneur Franchise 500. Farid’s innovative way of thinking paved the way for his business to quickly become one of the most recognized companies in the United States. Farid attributes his success to hard work and taking risks. His goal when starting his business was never to get rich, but to provide consumers with something unique and fresh, original to the marketplace.
The idea for Groupon came from Andrew Mason who incorporated the site in 2008. With $1 million in seed money, the company quickly evolved onto a $1 billion sales pace, ahead of others in the market. Not only was Groupon quick to profit, but it expanded internationally to more than 40 countries in the course of a year. One of the key factors involved in Groupon’s rapid growth as a startup? Their target audience is virtually unlimited; any given consumer can benefit from a discount.
HubSpot was founded and incorporated in 2006 by MIT classmates Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah. With an understanding that traditional marketing was evolving into a need for more intricate tools, Halligan and Shah created software that integrates online marketing tools, from blogging to monitoring social media, into a single platform. Used by over 8,000 companies in 56 countries, HubSpot is the most powerful, tightly integrated and comprehensive marketing software available, stemmed from the founders’ analysis of a personal problem that needed a creative solution!
Like HubSpot, Twitter found the “white space,” in the world of social media, an online platform for users to spark social conversations and share news with the click of a button. The idea came from Jack Dorsey, a then NYU undergraduate student, in 2006. Dorsey, along with Evan Williams, Biz Stone and Noah Glass, launched the site within five months of the initial brainstorming session. In one year the number of tweets posted per quarter jumped from 400,000 to 100 million, and two years later Twitter users were sending up to 50 million tweets per day. One of the most important lessons for entrepreneurs to learn from Twitter is that your initial idea must meet the current and ever-changing needs of the consumer. Your idea may need to be tweaked or adjusted throughout the process and may depend on the current state of your marketplace, what your competition is doing and how consumers are responding to the change in trends. It is your responsibility, as the entrepreneur, to figure out what the consumer is missing before they know it themselves.