Change the business unicorn

Close your eyes for a moment and allow yourself to be transported to a time when you are a little girl, around the age of three or four.

In that innocent and magical phase of your life, a new fascination has captured your heart and ignites your imagination…

UNICORNS!

Oh, those enchanting creatures! 

Picture in your mind those fluffy white ponies who fart glitter, sprinkles and stars everywhere. Their long, flowing manes and tails, their eyes sparkling with kindness and wonder. Their mesmerising rainbow horn. 

These fabulous fluffy creatures bring laughter and joy to our young hearts and smiles to our faces. 

In our childhood, unicorns are not scarce or elusive; they are plentiful, and they bring joy to many. Their very presence has the power to ignite our imagination, foster friendships and create new worlds. Their magical abilities seem limitless.

As adults, we’re conditioned once again to fall in love with unicorns. But this time it’s not the mythical creature that captures our attention, but rather the concept of the business unicorn. 

But what exactly defines a business unicorn? 

A business unicorn refers to a private company that achieves a valuation of $1 billion. 

If we look at some high-profile examples, companies like Uber, Airbnb, and SpaceX come to mind. 

Each of these businesses has made a significant impact on their industries, fundamentally changing the way we travel, find accommodation, and explore space. 

They have become symbols of success and are celebrated by the media as the epitome of business success.

An Australian unicorn is Melanie Perkins, the CEO and Co-Founder of Canva. Her startup reached a billion-dollar valuation within a mere six years of its launch. Stories, like Melanies, of extraordinary growth and success fuel our fascination with the idea of becoming the next unicorn.

 BUT… let’s step back and gain some perspective. 

While the business world and the media focus on these exceptional success stories, the numbers reveal a different reality. 

If we look at the overall business landscape, the odds of any of us becoming a unicorn are almost statistically impossible.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics there are approximately 2.6 million businesses in Australia.

Among these businesses, less than 2% earn over $10 million in revenue.

Out of that small percentage, only nine businesses are considered unicorns. 

That’s less than 1% of 1%.

Yet we are constantly reminded that bigger is better and the billion dollar valuation is the ultimate goal. 

In a world that glorifies the unicorn, we find ourselves bombarded with messages that tell us to aim for immense growth, to conquer the world, and to relentlessly crush the competition. 

So, why do we all buy into the idea of chasing the unicorn? 

Perhaps it’s the allure of extraordinary success, the promise of wealth and recognition, to be seen as ‘not one of the Joneses’, or the desire to make a significant impact on the world. 

We are captivated by the stories of those who beat the odds and achieve remarkable feats.

But what if we could redefine the concept of a unicorn? 

What if we could shift the narrative and build a world where being a business unicorn is not about rarity and exclusivity but about a multitude of businesses, each bringing our own unique offering to the table, making us individual unicorns – as plentiful as the ones we discovered as young girls. 

Let’s shift our focus to the 92% of businesses that turn over less than $2 million in revenue.

These businesses, like yours and mine, are the backbone of our communities. 

While we may not reach unicorn status, and let’s be real, the chances are next to zero, we are doing amazing things in our own right.

Let’s do business in our own unique way. Making a difference in the world not only for our customers and clients, but for ourselves and our communities. 

Let’s recognise that we are businesses creating magic. 

Imagine almost 2.6 million (minus 9) businesses creating magic, embracing doing things differently and celebrating the richness in life that comes from a variety of perspectives and the power of the many.

It is time to change the very meaning of the business unicorn. 

 

Mell Millgate

Mell Millgate

Speaker | Entrepreneur | Small Business Advocate and Mentor| Marketer and Strategist