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Groupon- 1 Billion in Two years

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Starting a business ? First make sure your idea is good enough to practically sell itself. That’s what Groupon did and that resulted in one of the fastest growing companies on the internet.

You’ve heard of Google, Amazon, and Facebook. These companies are all wildly popular in part, thanks to the dot com era but also because of a group of people getting together with a great idea. Many are asking the question, where’s the next Google coming from? When will we see the next Amazon? The answer is now and it’s a company you may not have heard of. It’s called Groupon and their success is proof that any budding entrepreneur with the right idea can still find cyber-gold online.

Groupon has its roots in Chicago where now CEO Andrew Mason had an idea. He believed that if he could build a large list of followers interested in bargain shopping and he could get merchants to offer a one day only mega deal, each of those parties would find value and his company could make money by being the middleman.

This mega-deal would only last one day and normally, it is for 50% to 90% off an item. The retailer is protected because the “groupon” isn’t offered to the public until a certain amount of members sign up and commit to it.

He took this idea to his former boss who invested $1 Million in seed money to get him started. Like any smart entrepreneur Andrew pitched his idea to local businesses. His first client was a pizza restaurant who had a store in his apartment building.

Did the idea work? Groupon launched in November of 2008. Just two years later, Groupon received a $6 Billion dollar offer from Google and one year prior, turned down an offer from Yahoo. Groupon intends to remain a private company with rumors that an IPO will come to the investment market sometime in 2013.

Success has come with a problem, though. Groupon has built a list of so many subscribers that small, local businesses can easily be overwhelmed with the traffic generated by Groupon’s subscribers. A larger company can easily handle the traffic but small businesses with minimal staffing have to plan for what could an exponential increase in foot traffic.

This is proof to all entrepreneurs that starting with a great idea may be the key to success. It doesn’t have to be a high dollar invention. Just an idea that is unique and gives something to the people using it.