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Slow out of the gate but winners, still

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Some late bloomers are individuals. Some are corporations. But in all cases, their success stories show that an early start isn’t always a necessary component of success.

  • Federal Express started operations in 1973, “borrowing” the idea of a rapid-delivery service from DHL and UPS. By trumpeting next-day delivery, FedEx moved to the front.

  • IBM launched its PC in 1981, hoping to compete with already-established Apple and Atari in a crowding marketplace.

  • Best Buy opened its doors in 1985, modeling itself on Circuit City. Now, Best Buy is consistently one of the top players in electronics retailing.
Lesson: Being first isn’t always an advantage as you move ahead toward your goals.

—Adapted from “A Brief History of Late Starters,” Michael V. Copeland, Business 2.0.

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