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10 major companies that started out doing something completely different

You shouldn’t give up too soon, but you should also know when it’s time to give up. Drastically altering your company product can destroy what you have already built, but these companies prove that the outcome isn’t always bad.

Building a brand is the key to developing a hugely successful business. Customers must recognise the name, slogan or branding and know instantly what the company is and what it does or sells.

To most, drastically overhauling your company sounds like business suicide. However, knowing when to cut your losses and alter your direction are vital skills to have in the business world.

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10 company product changes that worked wonders

Failing in one market doesn’t have to mean failing in business altogether. These 10 companies prove that changing your company product can rejuvenate a struggling venture:

YouTube

Now the fourth biggest social network, with one billion monthly active users, YouTube wasn’t always a video sharing network full to the brim with funny cat and How-To videos. The website was initially a video dating website, where users could upload videos to introduce themselves to other daters. It took just five days for the company’s founders to drop the dating aspect and transform YouTube into the video empire that it is today.

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Source: Youtube.com

 Wrigley

When you see someone chewing, chances are they have a piece of Wrigley’s gum in their mouth. With a portfolio of brands including Extra, Airwaves, Juicy Fruit and Hubba Bubba, Wrigley has control of the gum market. However, that wasn’t always the case. Prior to selling gum, Wrigley sold soap and baking powder, with customers receiving chewing gum as a complimentary gift. Eventually, customers started buying the company’s products just to get the gum.

Tiffany & Co.

Luxury brand Tiffany & Co. was initially founded as a stationery store in the early 1800s. However, after taking just $5 in revenue in its first day of trading, it seemed that the company was heading nowhere. However, after swapping paper for jewels following a change of ownership, the company quickly became known as one of the finest luxury retailers around.

Suzuki

The automotive company is best known for motorcycles, having sold thousands of vehicles consistently for a number of years. As experts in their industry, it’s hard to believe that Suzuki started out in an entirely different industry. The company was originally known as the inventors of machine-powered weaving looms.

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Flickr/PROElliott Brown

Shell

Royal Dutch Shell, the company behind the bright yellow Shell garages littered along every motorway, is worth more than $200 billion. That’s an impressive value for a company that initially started out as a vintage goods store. Founder Marcus Samuel specialised in oriental shells which he imported from the Far East, hence the name.

Nokia

Apple and Samsung now control the mobile phone market. Before they came along, Nokia dominated with their famed 1110 and 3310 models. However, Nokia wasn’t always a telecommunications company. When it was founded back in the mid-1800s, Nokia produced paper, before moving into electronics a century later.

Nintendo

Super Mario, Donkey Kong, Link and Yoshi are just some of the iconic characters that Nintendo have created over the years. The hugely successful company has been present in the video game industry for so long that it’s hard to imagine gaming without it. However, before stumbling upon video games, Nintendo tried their luck at playing cards, food, hotels and taxi rides.

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Wikimedia/Arcimboldo

Samsung

While Nintendo tried to crack the instant rice market, Samsung were busy selling dried fish in Daegu, South Korea. The company was founded in 1938 as an export company, selling a number of Korean products to China. It wasn’t until 1969 that Samsung Electronics was established, which developed and sold switchboards.

Hasbro

As one of the largest toymakers in the world, which produces and sells favourites such as Monopoly, Furby, Action Man, Nerf and Play-Doh, Hasbro make products that children love. However, during their earlier years, they made products that children hate – school supplies.

Berkshire Hathaway

As the holding company of Warren Buffett’s many business ventures and investments, Berkshire Hathaway is one of the biggest companies in the world, with a market value of over $400 billion. However, before the investment icon purchased Berkshire Hathaway in 1964, it was a failing textile manufacturing company.

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