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The Fate of the Modern Entrepreneur
Harry Dewhirst
Harry Dewhirst

Over the years I spent as an entrepreneur, I’ve experienced and watched my peers endure what I call “the curse of an entrepreneur.” When someone starts a business, they tend to become overly emotional about it and it engulfs their life. They start making mistakes such as micromanaging and spreading themselves too thin by trying to be the best at everything. Thus, it becomes very difficult to let go and grow the business. In order to succeed, entrepreneurs need to be able to think differently and focus the emotion on their customers.

I admit, I was once riddled with it but consider myself recovered. The cure isn’t born from making money. The affected entrepreneur isn’t chasing the money, they are chasing the satisfaction when things go well. It’s the glory of building something, the impact of creating something from nothing. However, that feeling depends on the ability to scale.

In the age of super retailers such as Amazon, the modern entrepreneur must have the ability to create and scale niche businesses to compete. That means the energy they are focusing on their business needs to be focused on their customers.

Creating a niche business allows for communities to be built around your product. Super retailers’ size and focus on mass-market don’t allow them to foster a following but startups targeting more niche product categories can succeed here. Community building facilitates word-of-mouth marketing which in turn, enables organic growth. And who doesn’t want to scale organically? It order to create this following, the businesses needs to take time to converse and get to know their customer base. The key is to create a brand that feels authentic and approachable to consumers. Think of a small town local business owner and their relationship with the community around them.

Another reason to go niche is that you can personalize your products. Personalization is a fast-growing trend in consumer goods which super retailers cannot compete with. They can personalize the online shopping experience but it can’t personalize products without sacrificing the mass-market efficiency. For instance, I own a brewery in Singapore called Trouble Brewing. We only Launched in December 2017 and demand is outstripping what we can produce! Why? We created a company that caters to our customer base by allowing them to create customizable beer. For anyone who drinks craft beer, being able to personally craft a beer and then purchase it is very appealing.

Entrepreneurs take note. The scaling of niche companies gives you the ability to emotionally connect with your customer base instead of in the business. I say let go, create a business that addresses a need in a niche category and bond with your consumers by giving them a community and personalization. This is the new fate of the successful modern entrepreneur.

Harry Dewhirst

Harry Dewhirst

President | Blis As Blis president Harry leads the Blis' global commercial partnerships and drives international growth. An entrepreneur at heart, Harry co-founded advertising technology company Amobee at 21 which was bought in 2012 by SingTel and is a Partner and active investor at boutique venture fund Ballpark Ventures LLP.