Five Businesses that Achieved Success by Changing Dramatically

By JackJanuary 29, 2016

– This article was last updated on 16 July 2021-

Business plans are not set in stone and among some of today’s most famous multinational brands there are plenty of examples of businesses whose modern-day incarnations are almost entirely unrecognisable from how they began life:

Change improvement  business wheel with man writing on it


By 1943, wide-eyed seventeen-year-old Swede, Ingvar Kamprad, had already shown glimpses of his business acumen with his mobile match, pen and fish business. Then he gave his initials and those of his family farm and local village to his mail-order sales company, IKEA, which by 60 years later had become the largest furniture retailer in the world.


When it started life in lower Manhattan in 1837, Tiffany’s was a “stationary and fancy goods emporium” that specialised in ornate vases, dishes and paintings. Today it still sells the china pots and plates, but is better known as one of the world’s most famous luxury jewellers.


By the mid-2000s, Nokia was Europe and Asia’s leading smartphone company. Of course since then it has been bought up my Microsoft, and nowadays it focuses increasingly on the virtual reality market. But the telecommunications group’s recent transformations are nothing when its beginnings, as a pair of pulp mills, are taken into account.


For 65 years it was known for its handmade playing cards. Then it pivoted somewhat, entering the taxi, instant rice and love hotel business. Then around the mid-70s the Japanese company pivoted once more and focused back on entertainment, only this time going on to become the largest video game manufacturer in the world. And just a couple of months back, Nintendo announced that it would release its first smartphone game some time next spring.


In 1892, William Wrigley Junior saw how much people loved chewing gum, and realised that he could use that knowledge and offer it as a free perk to people purchasing his soap and baking powder. Then it struck him that the chewing gum was more popular than anything else he was selling and, soon enough, Wrigley’s Spearmint, Doublemint and Juicy Fruit flavours were household names throughout the US. In 2008, Mars Inc. bought Wrigley for more than 22 billion dollars.

A smart business expenses app may not turn your business into the next IKEA or Nintendo, but then who knows what the future holds?