From Small Business To Big Business: 3M Company
Entrepreneurs need inspiration. Because building a business is about having a vision and the will to succeed. The businesses in this series of articles have all started small and have since become icons of the business world. In this article we feature the 3M Company.
The 3M Company originally known as the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company began life all the way back in 1902 in the Minnesota town of Two Harbors on the North Shore of Lake Superior. The company was originally formed by five partners Henry S. Bryan, Herman W. Cable, John Dwan, William A, McGonagle, and Dr. J. Danley Budd who had come up with the idea of selling a mineral known as corundum to manufacturers on the east coast. The mineral they thought would sell well as it could be used to make grinding stones and sandpaper or so they thought.
Well the idea didn't really pan out to well for the partners but as they were not willing to give up just yet they turned there attention to another mineral known as Spanish garnet. This mineral it turned out worked really well in the making of sandpaper. After some initial problems that were soon dealt with sales of their new sandpaper product began to take off. But these early trials for the company had taught the founders the value of a good R&D department. Forever after innovation at the company would lead the way.
In fact each year new products created by their R&D labs account for about 25% of sales each year. Products such as waterproof sandpaper in 1921 and masking tape in 1925 provide just two examples of the kinds of innovations that 3M Company has become known for. The company has strayed some from their path over the years though. It was during the late 60's and early 70's that 3M began creating its own line of board games. And although the games were very popular it was eventually decided that the division should be sold off to Avalon Hill.
After that 3M decided to stick to what it does best. Of course one of the areas that 3M is best known for is tape. Besides masking tape they produce other products such as scotch tape and in 1980 the company brought out the now famous Post-it-notes. This little office innovation has brought the concept of leaving messages for people to a whole new level all by itself.
Finally in 2002 the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company officially changed its name to the 3M Company since that was how the world really new the company anyway. The company now employs over 75,000 people worldwide. It has labs and manufacturing facilities in countries across the globe. And it has become a global conglomerate best known for its innovative products and commitment to researching new ideas. For any entrepreneur it has become a benchmark example of how research and development can lead the way and create a better tomorrow.
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