Stephen Garden Advises on Low-Risk Execution Business Models in Growth Sectors

By By Kelin Dillon

Published: Thu 24 Mar 2022, 4:21 PM

In the 21st-century global marketplace where approximately 100 million new businesses open their doors every year, making a distinct impact on the industry has become more difficult than ever due to this inherently competitive and continually-growing saturation of companies within. As such many burgeoning businesses are left with the conundrum: do we try to grow slowly but safely with a low-risk business model, or shoot for the stars and potentially crash and burn with a high-risk approach?



For Stephen Garden, a cloud services entrepreneur who successfully scaled technological consulting company Onica to $200 million in revenue and offices in twelve countries. He believed that evolving and iterating on pre-established practices is a much better route to success than proprietary invention. With firm ideals about the modernisation opportunities in the modernisation of how many traditional businesses operate, Garden now shares his unique expertise to help guide up-and-coming companies to fulfil their fullest potential.

What makes a business model low risk vs high risk?

If a product or service has been delivered to customers successfully before then these are low-risk business models in my mind take for example the consulting industry, people have been offering specialist knowledge in return for fees now for over 50 years. Building products that invent new markets or significantly disrupt today’s way of doing things carry a far higher associated risk of successful execution.

How can companies using new technologies mitigate their risk?

Most of the world's top technology firms allow their products to be used by other businesses. In many cases, you can build on top of their solutions to deliver your products and services to customers. This is probably the easiest way to lower the risk of your business model.

Is it possible to use both new tech and traditional business models simultaneously in a company’s operations?

I think it is an amazing use case for creating a competitive advantage. Many traditional organisations have been working with the status quo for so long that it doesn’t occur to them to evolve their product line, perhaps they were previously put off by heavy upfront costs to innovation. Things like cloud computing have completely changed the business case for taking on new ideas.

What key aspects of the modern world should businesses utilise to grow their potential?

Coming out of the global pandemic I think we’re seeing a big change in how people want to work, not just the obvious things such as remote working or flexible hours but a bigger shift caused by a new generation entering the workforce and choosing different communication styles and cultural dynamics in the workplace.

Is it better for businesses to be at the forefront of changes and get a head start on the competition, or more advantageous to see how things develop before diving into innovations/evolutions?

I prefer the second mover advantage as a strategy; if this isn’t possible because no one in your industry is pushing the boundaries, I’m a fan of looking at ancillary models in similar industries and taking those concepts into your domain.


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