Our philosophy is a published set of principles that explain how we work with entrepreneurs. We want to be transparent so that you know what to expect before you work with us. There are many business support programmes available; it is important to select the support that fits what you are looking for.
If these principles seem obvious, then you are probably a good match. If you don’t like what is written here, you should think carefully whether Riversands is right for you.
PRINCIPLE 1: IT’S YOUR BUSINESS
You are the business owner and it’s up to you to build your business each day.
We care about your success, but we don’t get more excited about your business than you do.
While we always seek new opportunities for entrepreneurs, you need to hustle to find customers. When we do refer leads, you’ve got to make the most of them.
We will give advice, when you ask for it, but you are free to make up your own mind.
You make the decisions, you live with the outcomes.
PRINCIPLE 2: SELECTION IS ONGOING
Our initial application process is light on purpose. Less gatekeeping means more opportunity for more people.
Selection is not a once off event.
You earn the level of support you qualify for based on your behaviour and the growth potential of your business.
We invest with our square metres, time, our efforts and connections to corporate buyers and industry experts. We have a lot to offer. Like all investors, we want to invest where we will get the best returns.
We reward entrepreneurs who seize opportunities, keep learning and put in the hard yards.
We also rapidly withdraw support when you don’t deserve it.
The good news is that if you mess up, with the right attitude, you can always recover.
PRINCIPLE 3: BUSINESS FAILURE HAPPENS
All businesses can fail. Sadly, the failure rate for small business is high.
This doesn’t mean failure can’t be avoided. Or that one business failure is the end of entrepreneurship.
Failure hurts. Work with us to make it less painful. You don’t have to destroy yourself if your business fails.
Make use of our flexible rental terms (scale down your space or move out for a while) and support services to get you through the rough times. There is no need to build up unpaid rental – it can be avoided.
The more honest you are with yourself and us, the quicker you’ll identify problems in your business, and change. We can help you manage your finances better. We can work with you to design you design, prototype and test new concepts.
As tough as it sounds, we won’t step in to rescue your business, although we will try to help you soften the fall. Sometimes it’s better to fail fast, and get up again.
PRINCIPLE 4: ENTREPRENEURSHIP DEMANDS SACRIFICE
Entrepreneurship is not a quick road to riches.
We want our entrepreneurs to be wealthy one day. This probably means making a lifestyle sacrifice now. Consider each expense twice. What you invest in your business now will be worth it in the end.
We want to invest our time, energy and space in committed entrepreneurs who deserve our support. Who meet their business obligations, such as salaries and rent, even if this means a personal sacrifice. If you’re not paying your rent or staff, should you really be driving the expensive car?
PRINCIPLE 5: YOU CREATE YOUR BASKET OF SERVICES
Different industries, stages of growth and business models need different things.
Work with us to find a mix of services that works for your business.
We may not offer what you’re looking for. Although we will try to give you some other options.
We can’t and won’t try to meet everyone’s needs.
We don’t expect you to accept every service or attend any event we offer. We want you to select what works for you.
Your time is precious. You may be busy keeping your clients happy or meeting a big order. There is a time to work ‘on your business’ as well as ‘in your business’. Many of our services can help you grow your business and keep those clients happy.
PRINCIPLE 6: ACCEPT THAT MASTERY TAKES TIME
No one starts out as a business guru.
If you don’t feel overwhelmed at some point, you’re not doing it right!
You are on long journey – for both your business and yourself – you will get better at different things at different times.
Putting theory into practice is hard. You won’t succeed the first time. But rather try, than just talk about it.
You will feel like giving up. But stay curious and keep pushing forward. Seek the answers to your questions. They aren’t going to just come to you.
Talk to us to get a mentor or coach, attend lectures and workshops to find some of the answers you’re looking for.
PRINCIPLE 7: TALK TO US
We want to know what is happening in your business. What you’re thinking and what keeps you awake at night.
That’s how we learn what you need most.
We believe in straight talk. Don’t tell us what you think we want to hear, tell us how it is.
We pass on feedback we get from your customers to you. We’ll tell you how we find doing business with you.
We watch for qualities like professionalism, service excellence, reliability, business savvy and trustworthiness.
Honest feedback is a gift – make the most of it.
If your business is flying and you can’t keep up, we want to hear that too. We may be able to help you make that big order or hire faster.
Riversands is a community for entrepreneurs. This only works if we talk to each other.
PRINCIPLE 8: Real world READINESS
Our ecosystem is ‘small business friendly’ with affordable premises options, flexible lease terms and a range of business services. But the real world is tough and we can’t take away the pressures that go with growing a business.
You need to build the capabilities and entrench those behaviours that will see your business succeed.
At times this will seem like tough love, but high standards of professionalism and accountability are necessary for sustained success.
We don’t want to make things so comfortable that your business is not viable outside of the incubator.
There are financial and commercial realities involved in growing a sustainable business. The sooner you accept and ‘own’ this reality, the better.