Most successful entrepreneurs’ stories begin with a single-minded, unrelenting belief in what they do.
Entrepreneurs share certain personality traits too, that set them apart from the madding crowd. They are risk takers, they are communicators, they are reflectors, but more than this, they are people of principle.
Along the winding road that meanders into the heart of the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, you’ll find a man who possesses the above mentioned set of characteristics. His name is Michael Goddard and his business, scratch that, life . . . is coffee.
Change you can (and must) believe in
Starting a business is an appealing idea for many – for most, in fact – the reality is that not many understand or appreciate the time and effort, the systems, process and sound management required to not only get their idea off the ground and, then, keep it following a sustainable upwards curve.
In his article, “50 Signs you need to start your own business,” John Rampton touches on key moments when the universe is trying to tell you something . . . the question, of course, is whether you are listening.
Safe to say that many of his “key indicators”, so to speak – point to vision, motivation, passion and a desire to make a real difference – yes for yourself but for others – too.
And, certainly, it was no different for the Steampunk Café founder
Michael was importing coffee for an international brand. He describes how he started to feel disillusioned; the reality of his work became unappealing and he realised he needed a change. Wanting to do things on his own terms, Michael set out to forge his own way.
“There was a lot of banging my head against brick walls at first and I was going slightly mad,” confesses Michael. “But things soon started to fall into place.”
While the initial idea with Steampunk was just to survive and get out of the corporate ratrace he now finds himself somewhat astounded; “I never could have expected this business to do what it has.”
In no way is this down to chance, however. It is the direct result of Michael’s hard work, long hours, the lessons he’s learnt and his perpetual desire to keep getting better.
Customer trust and consistent value delivery builds brands
Steampunk operates within a staunch framework of beliefs. The most important, according to Michael, is trust – closely followed by strong principles on which the business is built.
“The customer has to trust in the quality of your product, otherwise you’re all talk.”
Steampunk will not serve you sugar with your coffee, there will never be flavoured coffee on offer, they won’t accept that an out-of-line customer ‘is always right’, and cappuccinos will never be served hot.
“I can be a bit of a brat”, shrugs Michael. “But our stubbornness in sticking to our beliefs is the difference that is Steampunk.”
Courage (and the right tools) at the core of great success
Starting your own business isn’t for the faint-hearted. “You have to concentrate on what it is you want to do, don’t get distracted, and let your passion drive your business,” he says.
Retailers face daily challenges, but with the right tools, running and managing a store is simpler and easier. Steampunk uses humble Till point of sale software, allowing Michael to focus on what he loves doing.
This unassuming coffee shop is the bricks-and-mortar expression of Michael’s dreams. A true entrepreneur; his willingness to take a risk, armed with a set of solid principles, has resulted in a prospering business.
Look him up next time you are in the area, looking for a really good cup of coffee.
Updated: June 26, 2017