Three small businesses which made the big time

Three small businesses which made the big time

Even the biggest names in the business world had to start somewhere. We take a closer look at some of the companies which started life small but are now household names and what helped them on the road to success.

Reggae Reggae Sauce

Before February 2007, Levi Roots was selling his Reggae Reggae Sauce at carnivals and food shows, but meeting the right investors changed his life, and propelled his business into the big time.

Roots appeared on Dragons’ Den and convinced entrepreneurs Peter Jones and Richard Farleigh to invest £50,000 in return for a 40% stake in his business. The sauce is now stocked in a number of UK supermarkets, is used in food chains such as Wetherspoons and Slug and Lettuce, and Roots has expanded his range with more sauces, ready meals and drinks.

Ben and Jerry’s

Ben and Jerry’s is a prime example of how if you put a unique spin on a product you can succeed even in a crowded market.

Childhood friends Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield started their ice-cream business in 1978 after completing a correspondence course in ice-cream making. Due to Ben’s ageusia, a condition which affects people’s ability to taste, he relies on how foods feel in his mouth, leading to the company’s trademark chunks being mixed in with their various flavours.

The pair started off with one ice cream parlour in Vermont and now Ben and Jerry’s has scoop shop outlets across the globe and is sold by various national retailers and cinema chains.


It’s hard to believe that what is now the biggest online retailer in the world was operating out of someone’s garage just 20 years ago. Jeff Bezos started Amazon as an online bookstore in 1994, capitalising on the low price point for books and the internet boom.

Its virtual warehouse, which meant it could sell such a wide range of titles, led to instant success and now Amazon is a one-stop shop for consumers. Not bad for a company which was criticised by investors for having a slow growth plan.

Amazon is the perfect example of how a solid business plan and long-term thinking can facilitate growth.

Key to


Businesses that use web, mobile and cloud are setting the pace.

How to

People pointing at graphs and charts on paper
Plan it Out

Planning for growth.