Learn From The Past: 4 Small Companies That Went Global

Learn From The Past: 4 Small Companies That Went Global

If you own a small business and want to expand, you can learn from other companies that started off small and eventually went global. Most of these businesses faced hardships and uncertainties in their infancy but rose to become some of the most recognizable brands in today’s market. Here are four companies that managed to grow their operations to global proportions.

The Will-Burt Company

Started out of a general repair shop by brothers J.W. And B.G. Cope, this company is today considered to be a top producer of telescoping mast and tower elevation solutions. The brothers’ first brush of major success came when they obtained the patent rights to the Cyclone Drilling Machine in 1895 and started manufacturing tools and parts for businesses that drilled for water wells. The Will-Burt Company continued its growth throughout the 20th century and merged with other businesses to become a global enterprise.

The company’s products are in high demand by the military, fire, broadcast and cellular industries. The Will-Burt Company was officially incorporated in 1918 and continues its operations as an employee-owned business.


One of today’s most recognizable computer and electronic brands, Apple actually began its operations out of a garage in Cupertino, California in the 1970s. Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne started the company as a way to cash in on a growing new technology. The company’s first product, the Apple I computer, was developed by Steve Wozniak and offered a new way to process information.

After Ronald Wayne decided to leave the company, investor Mike Markkula funded Apple to increase its growth. Apple Computer, Inc. went public in 1980 and achieved even more financial success. The company generated more than $200 billion in 2016 and shows no signs of slowing down its operations. Through its ingenious products and talented employees, Apple continues to dominate the market and is a recognizable brand worldwide.


As World War II drew to a close in 1945, Harold Matson teamed up with Elliot and Ruth Handler to start a small picture frame manufacturing company out of a garage in El Segundo, California. Extra frame pieces that were left over were used by Matson to make furniture for dollhouses. Local businesses began purchasing this furniture, which prompted the company’s founders to start producing toys.

After Matson parted ways with the company, the Handlers developed a doll in 1959 and named it Barbie after their daughter Barbara. Arthur S. Spear became head of the company in 1975 and helped it become an even bigger global brand. Nowadays, Mattel is a leading manufacturer of other toys and games. Subsidiaries of Mattel include Fisher-Price, Mega Brands and Fuhu.


This company was founded in Provo, Utah, in 1984 and specializes in the direct sale of anti-aging products. Founders Sandie Tillotson, Blake Roney and Steve Lund wanted to start a company that would give highly lucrative opportunities to motivated salespeople. The company expanded its U.S. Headquarters and built its Innovation Center in 2013 to continue its growth.

NuSkin has grown its operations to include markets across North America, Asia and Europe. In 2016 alone, Nu Skin amassed more than $2.21 billion in revenue. The company even makes efforts to end childhood hunger through its Nourish the Children initiative. Nu Skin has won a silver Edison Award along with awards from HAPPI Magazine, Beauty Shortlist and Malaysian Women’s Weekly.

These companies prove that with a dream, an innovative idea and a willingness to work hard, just about any small business can become a global success. You can achieve your business goals by learning from other companies that started from nothing and are today major worldwide brands.