In the past 10 years we’ve well and truly seen the rise of the hipster entrepreneur. Personally, I love them. They bring some flair and attitude to the small business scene, and in many ways they’ve made it cool to be a business owner once again.
Hipsters started in the food scene, naturally enough, but now I’m working with hipsters running accounting practices, vet clinics, schools, gyms, marketing companies, gardening businesses, removal¬ist businesses, law firms and pretty much every other industry. And they are revitalising the way we do business around the world, and because of that I think that we have a lot to thank the hipsters for.
How hipsters have changed business forever
They have changed a lot about the way we do business and the way we think about business. I love the energy they bring to doing busi¬ness and the fun they have brought back to the small business space. I think there are 10 specific reasons why we should be grateful to small business hipsters everywhere and welcome the hipster revolu¬tion with open arms:
1. It’s now very cool to do one thing and do it really well. If you want to do nothing but sell great coffee or make a particular type of food or collect honey – and nothing else – that is now absolutely OK. In fact, we love businesses that do one thing really well. Hipsters get this, and they are very happy to find that one thing and do it better than anyone else.
2. We don’t all have to be building an empire. For a while there it seemed that if you were in business and you didn’t want to sell it for a billion dollars in a year, you simply weren’t trying hard enough. Now hipsters have helped us come to terms with the fact that not everyone wants to build an empire, but if you do, that’s OK too. The bottom line: build the business you really want, not the kind of business that others expect.
3. People love personality and hipsters have plenty of personality. I think business was getting a little bland for a while. Everything was starting to look the same, like one big franchise. Hipsters have come along, covered in tattoos, beards and funky clothes, embracing their individuality and encouraging it in their staff. They have personality and they aren’t afraid to use it. It just goes to show that customers want to do business with people who have personality. I know I do.
4. It’s nice to do things that take time to get right. In a world obsessed with fast, a lot of hipster businesses are fighting back and taking the slow approach. They do things well. They don’t advertise that they are the fastest, instead they actually say they do it right, not fast, so if you want fast, go to a bland, faceless business.
5. People will pay for quality. Hipsters have a laidback approach to doing what they do, but don’t for a second think that translates into a ‘we don’t care’ attitude. From my experience hipsters are incredibly committed to quality. They know that modern consumers are prepared to pay for it – and at the same time they know that as the world becomes more competitive, a lack of quality will be punished mercilessly.
6. It’s nice to smile when you walk into a business. Every time I walk into a hipster-run business I can’t help but smile. They are having fun, they can have a conversation with you, they are proud of what they do and how they do it, they have a wonderful sense of team and they laugh a lot. Who doesn’t want to buy from a business like this?
7. Hipsters have taught us to be fearless. With everything from food trucks to mail order razor blades, hipsters are all about giving it a go. If it doesn’t work, you pick yourself up, dust yourself off and try the next idea. They don’t spend years beating themselves up. They try new things, they love new ideas – the more innovative and offbeat the better. They teach us to not be afraid of giving a business idea a go – but do it well, charge what you are worth and let your personality shine through.
8. Hipsters know how to tell stories. With storytelling again at the forefront of marketing, hipsters know how to tell meaningful stories that count and that get attention. They tell the personal stories, the real stories, and the stories that their customers engage with.
9. They know the importance of doing good. Hipsters don’t need to be told that they should do good, help others, support local charities, make a difference, do the right thing, protect the environment – and so on. They naturally do all of this because it’s a part of their DNA.
10. Hipsters are not afraid to charge what they are worth. I went into a barbershop in Melbourne recently, a hipster haven, and they charged $75 for a shave. Now there was a time when I would have laughed, saying there is no way anyone would ever pay that kind of money for a simple shave. But of course, it is far from a simple shave – and there is a line out the door, with people waiting up to an hour for a shave. People will pay for quality – hipsters are proving that in every industry.
So next time you see a hipster business, find a quiet spot and sit and observe. We can all learn a lot about doing business in the modern world from our hipster brothers and sisters. I love them and what they have brought back to the world of small business in particular. Don’t be afraid of letting some tattoos, piercings and vintage cloth¬ing into your business.
This is an edited extract from Someone Has To Be The Most Expensive, Why Not Make It You? (Publish Central $34.95) by Australia’s #1 small business author Andrew Griffiths. Find out more.
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