We launched innovative technical accessories company, STM Goods, in 1998 in Bondi, Sydney with the goal of providing Australians with technical products that are beautiful, durable and functional.
STM Goods is now a global industry leader in laptop bags, packs, fitted cases and other tech accessories designed to make life and business ‘on the go’ easier.
In the last three years, STM Goods has doubled in size, tripled in revenue, has offices in Sydney, San Diego, London and Kuala Lumpur and has products available in more than 30 countries – presenting a very successful Australian success story in a competitive retail environment.
Today, I want to share some advice for other budding entrepreneurs on how to achieve a winning business attitude , and the top lessons that I have learned on my startup journey.
1. Make decisions
Always make decisions and support and encourage others with their decision making. Do not be afraid; whether it turns out to be a good or bad choice, the important factor is how you follow through and respond to the consequences.
There are always going to be challenges for you to overcome so be confident enough to make up your mind and go through with it. The worst thing you can do is worry about making a decision and then not make one at all. If you head down the wrong path, you can always recover and bounce back.
2. Do not worry
Do not worry or lose sleep stressing about things you cannot change. You have to accept that there are certain things you have zero control over. Ask yourself if there is anything you can do to influence the direction of whatever is concerning you. If the answer is yes, then get to work and fix it. If the answer is no, then do not worry about it, because there is nothing you can do.
3. Remember why you started
When Adina Jacobs and I started STM Goods from my garage, we had no idea the business would be as successful as it is today. We just started it – with a mission, values and a philosophy – that is still relevant 20 years later.
Sometimes things work and sometimes they do not (we learned through trial and error) but it’s important to start the way you want to finish, keep in mind why you started and remember to carry that attitude and passion all the way through.
4. Embrace challenges
All businesses face challenges and STM Goods is no exception. As a technology-inspired company, our challenges are ongoing as we need to constantly adapt and be flexible.
Of course, I have had moments of doubt. Anyone in business who says that they have never questioned how they can grow and remain meaningful is not being honest. I absolutely had my doubts about how we were going to start from a garage and take STM Goods to where it is today. But we make great quality products and we are passionate about what we do which goes a long way.
5. Be honest
We are always honest and upfront with people, and most people appreciate that. At STM Goods, we will tell you if we can or cannot do something. Keep in mind that you are in business for the long run as building valuable, long-term relationships with people requires a foundation of honesty.
6. Enjoy the journey and appreciate the milestones
One of the most monumental moments for our business happened during a brief team conversation right before we were launching the Dux Collection, our premium protective cases for digital devices, which has gone on to become one of our most successful ranges internationally.
We were discussing whether the Dux cases could be drop-tested, so I went and dropped one – with success! This simple action reinforced our business philosophy of making sure that our products and accessories protect people’s important digital cargo. This is a huge part of what we do every day and what will continue driving our future growth.
Ethan Nyholm is the CEO and co-founder of innovative technical accessories company, STM Goods, which is celebrating its 20th year in business this year.