Friday, April 17, 2015

The Work Problem that Led a Broke Woman to $50 Million

Photograph: Corbis

"The problems you see are just businesses in disguise." -Dr. Myles Munroe

Back in the 1950's, people used electric typewriters to draft documents. There was no email, which meant there was no backspace button, which meant you would have to start an entirely new document from scratch if you made a mistake. Imagine how frustrating that would've been especially if you wrote several pages. In the banking industry, branch secretaries ran into this time draining problem often. This killed productivity and threw precious work hours in the toilet, costing millions of dollars.
A woman by the name of Bette Nesmith saw this problem and decided that enough was enough. As an executive secretary for a local Texas bank, who also worked as a painter on the weekends to bring in extra money, she developed a paint based solution known as 'Mistake Out'  she would use to hide her errors in order to salvage her documents. She got the idea from observing how great painters edited their mistakes. They never threw away the canvas, instead they painted over the blemish. Within five years, she took her once unknown invention and started a company called Liquid Paper (which was the name she changed Mistake Out to). It was a hit with secretaries. Nesmith would end up selling Liquid Paper to the Gillette Corporation for $47.5 million in 1979. The company had over 200 employees under Nesmith's leadership. Don't complain about your problems or wish them away. One of them may contain a $50 million business.

About the author of this blog post:

Philip "Sharp Skills" Jacobs is a hip hop artist, published author, and entrepreneur who is passionate about reaching his full God-given potential and inspiring others to do the same. He is the author of "Accuracy: a guide to living skillfully and successfully in today's crazy times" and has independently released three albums, four mixtapes, and has had his music placed in TV and film. A firm believer in the power of education, he earned a bachelor's degree in Business Administration from Seattle Pacific University. He is married with two children. Follow Sharp Skills on Twitter @thesharpskills

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