Freight and packaging company Worldwide Express grew from a glimmer of an idea to a solid business model that quickly began to turn a profit. During founder David Kiger’s tenure working for commercial real estate developer Trammell Crow, he noticed that the mid-size business spent close to $5 million a year on freight expenses, almost entirely at non-contracted list prices.
When the freight carrier refused to apply a discount rate due to the company’s low volume relative to larger firms, Kiger realized that small to mid-size companies were paying too much for freight service. This epiphany led to the creation of Worldwide Express, which first partnered with Airborne Express, then DHL, and later UPS to bring collective volume discounts to smaller firms. The company currently logs more than $500 million in annual revenues.
Making an idea profitable requires both passion and enthusiasm. The entrepreneur is in essence a salesperson, selling products or ideas from the beginning—first to friends, then to mentors, then to investors, and always to the market. Really caring about the impact of a business model goes a long way in getting others excited about it.
Determination plus risk-taking are likewise critical those first few years as the company struggles into existence. Hard work and perseverance overcome inevitable obstacles, so the successful entrepreneur will need a dose of tenacity to reach profit and growth goals. A willingness to take risks helps as well, as it keeps prospective entrepreneurs from waiting too long to launch a good business concept.
Finally, aspiring business owners need to be flexible and resilient. Success requires learning from failures and making adjustments to the product or business model to respond to market conditions.