I love this article — on a gut level, because it goes against the popularity of “startups” — but, more seriously, because of its business advice based on Monocle’s own business journey and the business success of its featured shops.
“”Startup” is an empty word….
Entrepreneurial success seen through the Monocle lens looks different: It’s slower-growing, more painstaking, less giddily affluent. The businesses profiled sell tangible products–ceramics, goat cheese–and are run by grown-ups versus the delayed adolescents one associates with Silicon Valley…
“petiteness” (not getting too big, too fast) and “social terroir” (rooting your business in place and community, and staying responsive to the needs of that community)…
Pitch your product upmarket, where higher margins prevail; don’t sell products, curate an experience; cater to consumer tastes you understand well; cross-pollinate ideas across industries; and tilt your business model as necessary (a gelato “university” in a high-rent locale is more financially sustainable than a simple gelato shop)…
…So yes, if you have a great new idea you may be able to steal a march on everyone else, but most new businesses are actually repeating–but refining–old ideas. There is always room for a new café done better or a magazine that does its own thing.
A good brand is built through repetition and you have to have the confidence to keep repeating what you do best until you get the breakthrough. The other important thing is to choose steady progress over what may seem like easy wins. They are usually hollow.
…Canvass opinions, do your research, check the market, but in the end you’ll only make it if you know what your passion is for, and you stick with it. Sometimes people won’t understand what you are trying to achieve at first.
… each person has learned to be open to the input of their team…but, in the end, they are the keeper of the flame. They are brave enough to make the big decisions.
When you feel that you’re just responding to the next urgent request all the time and need some bigger thoughts, get out of your office, turn off that phone, be distracted by something bigger than the task at hand…”