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Entrepreneurialism And Sandwiched Success

May 3, 2008
I love stories of how businesses got their start. In most cases those stories are not based on an overnight success. In fact, many times the successes were small and unexpected.

In the mid 1960's there were two sub sandwich shops that debuted. In the beginning most people thought very little about these deli sandwich shops, but both names are pretty familiar to us today. Subway and Blimpie started within a year of each other and both stores opened on the east cost.

In 1965, a young man named Fred was a high school senior and wasn't really sure what he wanted to do in life. An encounter with Peter, his family doctor who also was a family friend, shifted the young man's focus. Fred had been trying to save enough money to go to college, but the minimum wage jobs he could find weren't putting a big enough dent into his need.

When Fred asked the doctor for some advice on raising the needed funds it was the doctor who told him to start a submarine sandwich shop and then offered some financial help to get started.

Did you know that the actual name of the Subway franchise is Doctor's Associates Inc? This was Fred's way of honoring his partner for a great business idea and the first $1,000 to start the company.

Meanwhile three friends in New Jersey had already been operating a sub sandwich business for about a year. They had been friends in high school and had tried selling a variety of items including pots and pans before they tasted their first sub sandwich. That's all it took for Blimpie to be born.

The trio picked the name due to the shape of the sandwich. On their first day in business the trio made just under $300 and began to understand the meaning of working owners. This also meant that the three young men had to prepare in excess of 300 sandwiches between them on their opening day. No wonder they worked toward franchising their idea.

These two ideas are in the top 3 sub sandwich franchises in the United States and each of their histories reverts back to young men in their late teens and early twenties who simply tried to figure out their place in the world. Their beginnings may not have been perfect and none of them could realize on their first day in business that they had started something special, but their long-term success provides the best encouragement possible.

If you are an entrepreneur you understand the longing to develop an idea that's bigger than yourself. You want to see success and you're willing to pay your dues.

Maybe some of your ideas will be stepping-stones to your best idea. Consider the team from Blimpie who sold pots and pans as well as women's hosiery before their big idea paid off.

I think it is very likely that one day you will have a story worth sharing. You will have a product worth buying and your dreams may be fully realized.

However, if this is a journey you have to take your first step.
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