How the Uggs Founder survived and pivoted his brand from conception to birth and into maturity.
Just as in life, business must always grow in phases. You cannot possibly run before you walk, or hit your teen years before the terrible two’s, and you most definitely cannot give birth to an adult. The founder of UGGS, Brian Smith, learned this lesson and plenty more along the way as he turned his idea of bringing sheepskin boots to the U.S. into something that has become a household name, a fashion staple, and an icon for business success.
Conception to Birth Is Only the First Phase
How many times in the process of growing your business have you seriously considered throwing in the towel? For Brian Smith, as he grew UGGS, that answer was four. Four times he almost walked away from it all because he didn’t realize in those moments that he was experiencing a certain phase of business growth and that eventually his business would mature through it. Thank goodness perseverance won the battle and Brian gifted the shopping world with Uggs and shared his experiences to inspire entrepreneurs to keep going and pivot.
In The Birth of a Brand, Brian breaks down the phases of business growth in a way that mirrors the phases of life. Conception to birth is the phase of blissful ignorance where you are head-over-heels in love with your idea and want to turn it into something innovative and market-changing. By the time you reach toddlerhood you are beginning to sort out exactly how the world works, who your target market might be, and how you can sell your creation. The childhood phase can be likened to the fun part where your focus is on getting sales and attention, and (of course) wanting to grow up just a little too quickly. The teen years sure are rough. Growing pains become very real and missing the mark is part of the process but this is also a time when you should be refocusing for success. Finally, we reach adulthood, which doesn’t mean you are invincible or exempt from growing pains, but it does mean you are better equipped to handle these ups and downs more so than ever before.
Why Are These Phases Important?
If Brian had given up when he was in the early phases of the life of his business, UGGS wouldn’t exist. There are plenty of other famous entrepreneurs who have echoed this sentiment. Pivots are an essential part of business growing pains that provide us with valuable knowledge and wisdom essential to our success in each phase of business growth. Being able to recognize which phase your business is in and where it will be heading next will help you grow with your business rather than losing hope or giving in too early in the process. You don’t get to be the guy who started a business that evolved into an international billion dollar icon without experiencing these phases and living to share your story on the other side.
Read the original INC article published on May 23, 2016.