Sometimes the most successful SMBs are the ones that leave their comfort zone and take risks!

By doing what people tell you ‘will never work’ is, for many people, the best road to take. And, of course, you’re often left wondering, ‘What if I’d just followed by gut instincts instead of being a sheep and following everybody else?'

Alphatise is one SMB that left its comfort zone by setting itself a goal; to shake up the way Australians shop. It began with an idea by co-founder Paul Pearson to set up a new SMB that will de-fragment the consumer marketplace. Joining up with three other co-founders, Ben Nowlan, Richard Frey and Kent Hulme, the young Aussie small business owners decided to empower customers and provide sellers with valuable insight into actual demand.

Launching in August 2014, the Alphatise website and app works like an online marketplace where people can choose to post a ‘wish’ for a product and what they’d like to pay for it. For example, you might want to buy a computer that retails for $1,200 but you’re only prepared to pay $1,000. You post your wish and then wait for a retailer to decide whether it wants to accept your desired price. 

Co-founder Ben Nowlan claims the biggest hurdle in the beginning was convincing the first person to invest in Alphatise.

When you have a disruptive idea, people think you are crazy! says Nowlan.

The four co-founders were so sure their idea would take off that they all left their SMB comfort zone – which, at first meant leaving comfortable jobs. They then placed themselves on the marketplace for people to scrutinize, something which we would all agree is a highly risky move.

It felt very risky when I first got onboard with Alphatise, because it seemed too big a problem to solve and the e-commerce market is very competitive. But the idea of trying something that might work seemed far better than doing the same things over and over again in a regular job, says Nowlan. 

Nowlan advises other Australian small business owners to leave their comfort zone, to take a risk and follow their hearts.

It might sound corny but ‘nothing ventured, nothing gained, says Nowlan.

Nowlan strongly believes that it’s the businesses that throw caution to the wind that are truly successful.  He urges other SMBs that if you have an idea or see a problem you’d like solved, then go for it!

There’s always a little voice of doubt, but that is natural. Just rationalise and ask yourself what’s important to you. Do you want a desk job from 9-5 or a business that can help you create the life you want? If you can answer that question, you simply need to follow through, says Nowlan. 


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About the Author: 

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Libby-Jane Charleston is an author, a journalist, a poet, lover of typewriters, Tolkien, Charles Bukowski & Richard Brautigan, rabbits & vintage frocks. She's a has-been TV reporter, a has-been model.






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