Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Michael Rist, CEO of Sticky Brand, located in Burlington, VT, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
In general, we are a sticker and label printing company. Our brand focus and customer value proposition is printing high quality, low quantity, affordable stickers with an easy online ordering process. We specialize in durable, outdoor, weather-proof decals ready for any climate in custom die-cut shapes as well as holographic and glow-in-the-dark finishes. We have been an industry leader in a growing market for the latter two materials. We also cater to businesses looking to label products, stylized barcodes, and QR code stickers. Anyone who has ordered decals knows there are a lot of cheap stickers out there. Our position is that any product in our offering needs to go through rigorous research, development, and testing before we make it available. Our customers span the range from fine artists, entrepreneurs, and local businesses to global fortune 500 companies like Amazon, Youtube, and North Face, and most likely one of your favorite breweries.
Tell us about yourself
In 2019, after a successful exit as President of a pet-related company in California, I had the opportunity to acquire the business and saw it as a great opportunity for a passion project and potentially rapid growth start-up. During my time as owner and CEO, we have seen 100% year-over-year growth and recently moved into a new 15,000-square-foot production facility in order to keep up with our rise in demand and ongoing plans for expansion.
What motivates me every day is the energy of the team and how well everyone works together. We are a really close-knit team willing to help each other, go the extra mile, and do what it takes to succeed. Beyond that, what motivates me is watching StickyBrand grow on its path to being the biggest, industry-leading e-commerce sticker company.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I would say that my biggest accomplishment as a business owner has been building a high-performing team along with crafting a winning strategy for hyper-growth.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
I think one of the biggest challenges that can face any business owner is running a lean business. In order to be competitive in a highly entrepreneurial global business environment, keeping a close handle on costs is integral and mandatory for growth and success. Second to that would be managing supply chain issues. With rapid growth comes a rapid need for constant adjustments and increases in inventory. With the supply channel issues over the last few years, this has required very calculated planning and the ability to stay agile, adapt, and pivot when gaps, delays, or issues arise.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
While there are no three tips that would sum up all that is needed to start, run or grow a business, here are a few that are cornerstones:
- Focus on what you are good at both as a business owner and organization.
- In business, there are constant distractions. People pitch their ideas, new product offerings and competitors, new online tools and trends, etc. Learning to keep your focus on the fundamentals of what drives success in your business will save you time and money in the long run.
- Remain curious and keep an open mind.
- Have a firm understanding of the fundamentals of running a business.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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