While small business news is not the most obvious place to find connections to the royal wedding between Prince William and Kate Middleton, the event shone a spotlight on smart entrepreneurs.
Outside Westminster Abbey on the morning of the wedding, Jamie Richardson and his six friends were doing a brisk business hawking cardboard periscopes to throngs of onlookers. The flimsy rectangular devices, outfitted with two small mirrors, are designed to help people get an edge as they try to catch a glimpse of the royal couple. They hired a variety of local manufacturers to produce the various components for 1,000 of the devices. Costing about GBP4.50 apiece to make, Mr. Richardson sold them for GBP10. By 7am he had already sold 40.
Meanwhile independent Scottish brewer Brewdogis inviting customers to “celebrate Big Willy style” with a Viagra-laced bottle of booze named ‘The Royal Virility Performance’. Brewdog is donating 20 per cent of proceeds to Centrepoint, a homeless charity supported by Prince William who has been sent a complimentary bottle.
Another wily small business, The Kirkgate Business Centre in Wakefield, West Yorkshire was the first company to get commemorative china products ready well in time to sell to enthusiastic royalists in the UK and abroad. Before the royal wedding, the company’s only high street outlet was in danger of closure due to a massive dip in sales. The owners were contemplating taking the business online in the hope of keeping it going for a little longer. Thanks to foresight and entrepreneurial spirit, not only has it already sold thousands of souvenir china since the engagement but it has had to move to larger premises to deal with demand from countries as far away as Canada, Australia and America.
Everyone knows that ideas are the lifeblood of entrepreneurs, but it takes many things to get an idea off the ground and created into a successful business – courage, support, passion – all attributes that entrepreneurs have in abundance.
Key to small business’ success in situations like these is their size, being small and nimble allows them to act fast and respond accordingly because the next big money making opportunity could be round the corner.