The Greater Entrepreneur

5 BUSINESS LESSONS FROM A CAN OF WD-40

August 21, 2019

 

Did you know that in 1953, a company called Rocket Chemical Company, with a staff of three, set out solve the problem of rust-prevention. They wanted to use the product to protect missiles, in the aerospace industry, from rust and corrosion. Working in a small lab, it took them 40 attempts to get the formula to work. They named the formula WD-40 which stands for Water Displacement perfected on the 40th try. 

 

Today, in the U.S., over 1 million cans of WD-40 are sold each week and it is known as America's favorite problem solver. 

 

Here are 5 business lessons an entrepreneur can learn from a can of WD-40.

 

Business Lesson #1

Persistence Pays Off 

Persistence is an important lesson in business. What we can learn from the Rocket Chemical Company is to not give up, whether it is a financial hardship or a product failure, successful entrepreneurs should never give up on their business dream. In business there will be many obstacles, just remember "Persistence guarantees that results are inevitable." -Paramahansa Yogananda 

 

Business Lesson #2 

Solve a Problem and You Won't Have to Sell Your Idea  

The Rocket Chemical Company set out to solve the problem of rust-prevention. The WD-40 product actually worked so well that several employees snuck cans out of the plant to use at home. After a few years of industrial use, the product was introduced to consumers for home use. The business lesson to be learned here is to not just start a business but solve a problem. The most effective process for business ideas is solving a problem in your own life. "If we tried to think of a good idea, we wouldn't have been able to think of a good idea. You just have to find the solution for a problem in your own life" -Brian Chesky, Co-founder of AirBnB

 

Business Lesson #3 

It's Bigger Than You Think 

After its invention in 1953, for the purpose of rust prevention in the aerospace industry, WD-40 can be found in four out of five American homes. It is said that this can has over 2000 uses, the official list can be found here, and it includes reconditioning flood and rain damaged equipment during natural disasters and preventing moisture damage on firearms for US soldiers. The lesson to be learned here is to not limit your idea.

 

Business Lesson #4 

Keep it Under Wraps 

The formula for WD-40 was never patented so that no one would know the formula. Formulation of WD-40 Multi-Use Product still remains a secret today. Other giants like Coca-Cola and KFC are famous for guarding secret recipes that set their brands apart. Most business will have some information that it would not want in the hands of a competitor. Unfortunately, some business owners, in their enthusiasm to get their business off the ground, fail to take steps to ensure that the secrets they are relying on for success, are kept secret. Develop as many policies and protocols to maintain the secrecy of business information to cut down the risk of getting your formula or recipe out to competitors.

 

Business Lesson #5 

Stay Innovative 

In 1969 the company was renamed after its only product, WD-40 Company, Inc. and it continues to be innovative with new designs of its spray nozzle. Over the years, the company has innovated the nozzle for large areas and hard to get to small areas. The lesson here is to stay innovative in your industry. To innovate is to excel.

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