Some enterprises are easy to start, easy to run, easy to scale and easy to turn profitable. That’s just how it is. A good business is based on information, analysis and insight, not speculation or opinion.
You’re not inventing your business so much as you’re discovering your business. The humility of business is that you have to go into the world and ask people if you’re doing something that they care about. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Your invention might be a new pricing model, or a new distribution channel. Most successful startups are based on a single innovation or effective use of existing production. If you’re making great ice cream that’s made right in front of your eyes, make it in familiar flavours. Resist the urge to innovate everything. Introducing something new and wonderful is easier and cheaper if you use, as much as possible, existing solutions for marketing, sales, production and delivery.
It’s a common complaint of the aspiring entrepreneur that they have a great idea but no one is giving them money to start the business. People rarely pay for ideas. There is a lot that you can do to start a business before you need much capital and you have a tremendous opportunity in the 21st century to start a business online at very little cost. Ask yourself if funding is really a prerequisite or if you can scale down to get things moving.
Our business model is rooted in long-term relationships with our suppliers because we need high-quality products, produced to our specific standards, which are continually available to our customers, and we need our suppliers to have the confidence in the future to invest in the quality and values of our products. In a real sense we are what we sell, so those relationships are built and continue over the longer term.
Social media is an important new means of communication and we have a team of people who manage the Facebook and Twitter accounts through which we invite customer conversation and suggestions. Financial pundits have been known to say that in a recession, people will walk away from our type of business in search of the cheapest price but that’s not so. We’ve found customers actually walk towards us in a recession. They value what’s important, they value the experience, they aren’t eating out as much but still want to eat well and be treated well.