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Create a Business to Last

Create a Business to Last

28 September 2017
Author: Anton Dell

Creating a business is tough – but it’s even tougher making a business that can grow and adapt successfully over the years.  Here are some thoughts and tips that may help…

Remember Who You Are!

An important part of setting up a company that lasts is understanding what is the most important to your new business.  If you know this, then you can come up with creative ideas that stay true to your identity.  Your core values are also essential for your employees, clients, and partners to share.  This way, it will be easier for you all to come up with a long-term plan about where to go and what to do.

IBM nearly died in the 80s, before it went back to its roots and became successful again.  No company can afford to be complacent, or not to remember who they are.  Think about why people need and want your products and how you can help them.

You should also focus on how your business helps others in different ways.  This may help you see what you should focus on as a business.  You can’t do everything at once – especially not in today’s world.

Vision, Vision, Vision…

A successful vision will work to lead your employees smoothly through whatever obstacles the world throws at them.  It should include both short-term and long-term goals in all decision making. 

If the business is profitable and strong enough that the person leading it can step aside and let someone else take the reins, it will have proven itself as a sustainable business with real value.  

Your Product is Out There.  Now What?

Once you have a product that sells, you need to make sure that your company can keep selling.  If your product is something that people only need one or two of, what do you do?

One thing that some companies have done very successfully is allow shoppers to modify their products. One example is Nike.  With NIKEiD, shoppers can create their own shoes, clothes, and accessories.  They can change the colour of the shoe, add symbols, and change the material.

Build-a-Bear Workshop is a very different company, but another one that offers customisation of products – toy bears for children in this case.  The company made over $375m in revenues last year!  It has been going strong for almost 20 years.

Anton Dell client Chalrose has done this well with handbags.  Chalrose invites women to add details like feather, fringe, or studs to simple vegetable leather handbags.  It was set up when its founder, Marieke, had to put a beautiful handbag with fur on it in the back of the wardrobe when summer arrived.  Marieke wanted to create a brand that allowed women to get the exact bag that they wanted or needed.

Put a Different Face On It

Even if you are a small business, you can still bring fresh energy into your company by asking new faces to become involved.

The deal between Rihanna and NIVEA to celebrate NIVEA’s 100th birthday brought advantage to both of them.  Rihanna’s popular song, “California King Bed,” was used in the NIVEA anniversary campaign, while the brand sponsored Rihanna’s US and European tours.  NIVEA got Rihanna’s cool factor; Rihanna got NIVEA’s global reach and money.  Perfect.

Laura Striese of Brand Synergy is the woman who brought NIVEA and Rihanna together.  She says authenticity is important.  Everyone involved in the campaign should want to be a part of it.  Rihanna was involved in the NIVEA campaign from the start. 

Could your company do the same in a different way?  Who do you wish would use or promote your products?  Could you involve them?

Be an Unicorn!

As Vanitha Narayanan, Managing Director of IBM India Private Limited, said at a tech conference, “When you change and act fast, you can be the biggest, boldest and brightest unicorn, but if you remain still and don’t change and adapt to the situation, then you are as close to extinction as you can be.”

Let your business be a big, bold, bright unicorn that thrives in this world!


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