By Lynn Beresford
Super Vision International Inc.
THEN: 1994 Sales: $2.4 million
Brett Kingstone doesn’t take business lightly. In 1994, his fiber-optic light and cable manufacturing company was doing $2.4 million in sales–but Kingstone still didn’t consider it a shining success. Why? He knew Orlando, Florida-based Super Vision International could do much more.
Fiber-optic lighting offers so many advantages over neon (for starters, it uses less than one-third the electricity, and it’s unbreakable), Kingstone felt confident it would continue to steal market share from neon, eventually edging it out of the spotlight. Even though his company’s fiber-optic Coke bottle sign in New York City’s Times Square was the world’s largest, the entrepreneur was sure he could take his business to even greater heights.
NOW: 1996 Sales: $6.8 million
Meanwhile, the 37-year-old entrepreneur keeps setting his sights higher. Although Super Vision’s annual sales have more than tripled in just over two years, “we don’t consider that a major jump in sales,” Kingstone says. “Approximately $30 billion worth of neon is sold worldwide, so if we were to get 10 percent of the world market, that’s $3 billion in sales!”
Not that Kingstone will view Super Vision as inferior until then. He simply has loftier goals for his company. “A lot of people ask me, `When will you say you’re a success?’ ” he says. “On the sales side, it’s when our sales become a certain percentage of the overall neon market; on the earnings side, it’s when every employee in this company–including the receptionist and the people on the production line can pay off their mortgages and put their kids through college.”
Read: Where Are They Now? An update on entrepreneurs featured in past issues | Entrepreneur
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