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From Small Loans To Big Business

Nearly all large corporations have humble beginnings as small businesses. And for many, the road to becoming a big business was paved with financial assistance, in form of small business loans or infusions of working capital. Our infographic below, From Small Loans To Big Business, illustrates the business financing journey that some of the nation’s largest companies have taken on their road to success.

From Small Loans To Big Business Infographic

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From Small Loans to Big Business

How some industry leaders used limited means to achieve their dreams



How It Started

1960 - Tom and Jerry Monaghan bought DomiNick's in Ypsilanti, Michigan, and a 15-min pizza-making lesson became Domino's.

How Much It Took

Borrowed $900

Annual Sales Revenue: $1,990,000,000

Key Moments

  • Opened 11,000 stores (5,000+ outside the U.S.), serving 1.5M pizzas a day globally.
  • AnyWare Ordering: Customers can order through text, tweet, smart TV, car, smart wtaches, voice, desktop, mobile, and tablet.



How It Started

1993 - Steve Ells Opened Chipotle, selling affordable burritos with fresh and sustainable ingredients.

How Much It Took

$85,000 loan from dad

Annual Sales Revenue: $826,900,000

Key Moments

  • 1996: 3rd location funded by SBA loan
  • 1998: McDonald's invested $360M and funded nationwide expansion
  • 2006: Went public, McDonald's fully divests from Chipotle


Ben and Jerry's

How It Started

May 1978 - Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield opened 1st Ben and Jerry's in Burlington, Vermont, after a $5 ice cream making course.

How Much It Took

$12,000 ($4,000 borrowed)

Annual Sales Revenue: $132,000,000

Key Moments

  • 2015: Opened total of 586 scoop shops, both in U.S. and internationally
  • Originally offered 12 flavors (Vanilla being 1st), now offers 41 flavors (ex. Cherry Garcia)



How It Started

Stanford Business School roommates Brian Spaly and Andy Dunn created online business for better-fitting pants.

How Much It Took

Borrowed $200,000 - $100,000 each from Joel Peterson and Andy Rachleff (Stanford GSB faculty members)

Annual Sales Revenue: $69,300,000

Key Moments

  • Largest online U.S. clothing brand with distribution in Nordstrom's 118 stores and 20 of its own retail showrooms.
  • Known for "Bonobos ninjas," who deliver net promoter score of 88


Warby Parker

How It Started

2010 - Wharton MBA students Neil Blumenthal, Dave Gilboa, Jeffrey Raider, Andrew Hunt launched Warby Parker as an alternative to expensive glasses.

How Much It Took

Started with less than $400,000 - less than $150,000 of their own money, plus a $50,000 line of credit, and a $200,000 loan from a regional bank.

Annual Sales Revenue: $35,000,000

Key Moments

  • Opened total of 14 in-store locations from Seattle, San Francisco, New Orleans, New York, and 4 showroom locations.
  • Hoe Try-On program: Participants have posted 25,000 images on Warby Parker's Facebook and 40,000+ on Instagram since launched in February 2010.


Steve Madden

How It Started

With only $1,100 in the bank, Madden used credit to manufacture 500 pairs of the "Marilyn" and sold samples from his car trunk.

How Much It Took

$1,100 and credit

Annual Sales Revenue: $1,330,000,000

Key Moments

  • 2015: Steve Madden retail stores located in 25 states in the U.S. and in 42 countries worldwide.
  • 5 business segments: wholesale footwear, wholesale accessories, retail, 1st cost, and licensing, with 7 divisions in wholesale


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