“We hate it when our friends become successful,’ sang Morrissey. And while the quiff-wearing eighties singer makes a good point, there’s no denying that a success story can inspire creativity within even the slovenliest of people. In business, there’s no doubt that hearing about a company thriving on the pathway to profit is heartening. If you’re the owner of a struggling SME, the right rags to riches tale could even motivate you out of your fiscal rut. This is in part because failure is so common in the world of startups. Although thousands of businesses are established every year, an average of 90 percent of them will fail within their first six months. According to Fund Squire, approximately 42 percent of those businesses will fail because there was no market need for their services or products. But many others will stumble and fall at the first hurdle because of a lack of direction and an indistinct USP. It doesn’t have to be that way. So, take a look at these success stories to see a few companies that made it beyond the starting line and into the profit margins.
In 1887, a small group of people living in London decided to produce a coffee trade union journal. The World Coffee Organization was born. In 1904, the journal was sold to become The London Coffee Journal. The first issue was a profit-maximizing ‘coffee table book’, which was followed by a line of books and a series of supplements until 1942. At that time, it became the standard source of information for coffee trade unionists, both within and outside London. Somewhere around 1955, the journal was purchased by an American coffee house called The Atlantic Monthly Company. For the next few years, the journal functioned as an American cafe-publishing house, but it was still published in London. The SME was established in the 1980s, and its mission has always been to produce an overview of the coffee trade and its organizations. It does that through a series of guides, reference books, and publishing supplements, but in its early years, it also published some journal articles on trends and culture. Nowadays, the only thing the SME publishes is a forecast for the year 2020. To celebrate the magazine’s 50th issue, which is currently in full length, here are five SME success stories that will inspire you and your business.
If you’re like many people in the UK, you’re probably familiar with the popularity of craft beer. You probably even know a few of its owners and investors. However, BrewDog was an entirely new breed of business – one that had nothing to do with beer. The company was set up by ex-brewers in the North Sea and was initially aimed at providing a niche product for the leisure market. However, it quickly evolved into a truly global company with offices in 18 countries around the world. In its early years, the company was famously criticized for being too expensive and for being ‘ludicrously ambitious’. However, that changed in the early 2000s, when it was revealed that the profits from its various ventures around the world were in excess of its costs. Today, the famous “sea dog” can be found laying eggs in the Bahamas, for which he is paid $100,000 per year.
West Coast Alpacas
Many people think of alpacas as being for animals, but in fact, they’re a protective species. Alpacas are the native species to the western hemisphere and are a key part of the ecosystems there. In a report released in 2011, the US Fish and Wildlife Service classified alpacas as ‘certain endangered and vulnerable. It also warned that they were ‘increasingly limited in their ability to survive’. However, in a recent report on the species, it was revealed that alpacas ‘have regenerated well from hybridization and other losses’, and that the species ‘is able to survive and thrive in areas with little clear-cut vegetation’. This piece of news should send the usual suspects in animals and wildlife into overdrive.
The furry, furry, furry ones – the dogs, the goats, the cats – are always expected to follow suit. The cats and the dogs are expected to be equally loyal, sweet, and quiet. Of course, there is one super-furry species that is even more loners than the rest: the alpaca. In fact, the alpaca is the only species of mammal that has evolved exclusively within the human body. All other mammals have evolved in a wide range of other species, but the alpaca is the only one that evolved exclusively within humans. This unique ‘lifestyle’ has allowed the alpaca to survive in almost untouched areas across the world, with little development.
SME success stories to inspire your business
If you’re the owner of a struggling SME, the right rags to riches tale could even motivate you out of your fiscal rut. This is in part because failure is so common in the world of startups. However, an average of 90 percent of those businesses will fail within their first six months. According to Fund Squire, approximately 42 percent of those businesses will fail because there was no market need for their services or products. But many others will stumble and fall at the first hurdle because of a lack of direction and an indistinct USP. It doesn’t have to be that way. So, take a look at these success stories to see a few companies that made it beyond the starting line and into the profit margins.