Some businesses exist in the public consciousness for so long that they feel as though they’ve always been around, hawking their wares from billboards since the dawn of time.

Indeed, some companies were started centuries ago, a mere twinkle in the eye of a Jacobean entrepreneur, and have somehow maintained a steady enough income to last until the present day.

What gives these companies such staying power?

Well, their products have never gone out of fashion, they have a rich history of effective service and they’ve figured out how to steer their business proposition through the choppy waters of the past and into the uncertain seas of the future.

So, join us for this list of businesses that have been around for a weirdly long time.

Ormiston Wire (Established in 1793)

The UK has seen a sharp decline in the manufacturing industry since the 1980s, not least because of increased emphasis on the financial and technology sectors. What’s this led to? The dissolution of many firmly established engineering companies.

The dark days of the 1980s has led to a dearth of jobs in the industrial sector – but while many companies were scrambling for the exit, Ormiston Wire was modernising and strengthening its position as a niche wiring provider.

It diversified its catalogue of wiring, providing everything from catenary wire to long and thick gym rope, broadening its client base.

It’s a strategy that’s held Ormiston in good stead since opening its doors in 1793, and its investment in green energy and the four-day working week will see it stride confidently into the future.

What you can learn: investment in the future can reap huge dividends.

Sudo Honke (Established in 1141)

Sake is one of the best loved alcoholic beverages in Japan and, much like whisky in Scotland, its manufacture is rooted in a deep and precise tradition.

Perhaps that’s why Sudo Honke, the oldest business on the planet, remains popular after almost 800 years.

The team at Sudo Honke retain a simple, clean and effective method of brewing rice wine. So while they’ll never be brewing sake on an industrial scale, their traditional brewing techniques will be valued for lifetimes to come.

What you can learn: consumers value tradition – and will pay through the nose for it.

Jim Beam (Established in 1795)

Bourbon – you’ve seen it in a thousand film noirs, usually being ordered by a hard-nosed detective with a hangdog expression.

As the years have worn on, bourbon manufacturer Jim Beam has monopolised on this down and dirty view of Bourbon. It’s the drink for every hardworking stiff, and just one sip’ll put more hairs on your chest than a dose of HRT.

From its humble beginnings, Jim Beam has evolved into a global household name. You’ll find it in any discerning drinker’s alcohol cabinet. And it’s a brand that continues to stay relevant.

What you can learn: you can capitalise on a popular conception of your product IF you’ve got the right marketing.

That’s our list! Can you think of any other long-serving businesses that you love? Then let us know in the comments below!

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