Ingredients for building a Renaissance Business

By January 4, 2016 Thoughts No Comments

Happy New Year!

We’ve been talking about the 8 recipes it takes to build a meal plan for our company, Stretch Recipes.  So far, we’ve discussed what it takes to build a CompassionGrateful; LovingTeam WorkResilientImpactful; and Conscious business.  Now it’s time to unveil our final ingredient – A Renaissance Business.

You have to look backwards to build forward in a meaningful way.  As Einstein has been attributed as saying, “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”  Thus, building a renaissance business is a combination of learning from the ancients, pulling the best forward, and (in the case of our photo today) building in new directions to become one with nature, for nature, and to exist within nature.

Maybe the thought of a Renaissance Business conjures up sweet little baby cherubs painted on ceilings, there’s a simple reason for that:


Thus, the businesses we look back on in 300 years from now will have changed the direction and advanced the course of humanity will be the ones that seemingly looked innocuous, you used everyday, and were excited about interacting with. These companies don’t have to have an eye on the future, they just have to be present enough today, wise enough to have learned from the past, and brave enough to take new roads.

Thus, here are the ingredients for building a Renaissance Business:

1)  Innovation.  Does it take something basic, something that that man needs or wants and puts a new spin on it to make it better?  An innovative business doesn’t have to be something entirely new, it could make donuts, but put a new spin on donuts to solve the past problems associated with eating them.  The company could take the donut and make it so the powder doesn’t stick to your fingers or lips.  Maybe the donut company has created one that has no sugar, but still tastes sweet.  Maybe this company has created a donut from vegetables.  Or possibly, this company has made it so that every food can be shaped like a donut so that we no longer need utensils for eating saving precious metals and poplar trees around the world thereby changing the way man consumes food and creating a global impact.  An innovation doesn’t have to be life altering, but seemingly small steps to improve something that currently exists can change the way man consumes or at the very least, how he thinks about his consumption.

2)  Lots of Vision.   Our vision is huge, it’s ambitious, but we see it because we believe it.  We believe it, so it will be possible to achieve it.   But most importantly, we live according to the Vision already being in motion.  When building a business that is a Renaissance Business, just as any other company, it has to have vision.   It has to have vision outside of the four walls that surround the office, it has to have vision that involves the world.  It may not start that way.  When Henry Ford built his company, he saw people driving.  Probably driving all across the world in his cars.  In that moment, do you think he could foresee the way architecture would change to build homes with garages to house his cars?  What about the exodus of the middle class to the suburbs in the 1950’s to allow for a new lifestyle all together?   These companies without a doubt will impact how society will interact with their product, but they will also change the way that we live.  (In this case, the man that makes every food shaped like a donut creates a boom in the fashion industry that results in lots of silver bling.)

3)  Disturb the Peace.  Everyone who knows me, knows I like to be like a river.  To move around the rocks and flow with the natural order to achieve my end goal.  But just like water, you can build a dam to build your city at the foot of it, but when the water is ready, it may take years, but it is more powerful than any dam.  I say it’s easier to let the water flow than let it blow.  :-)   In this case, a Renaissance company will get under your skin initially before you see it’s true capabilities.  99% of people are naturally governed by fear, it’s no surprise that consumers and other businesses will react first in the negative, taking on their karate stances to fight against what is offered.  The idea of change, the idea that they will have to rebuild frightens them for 1 reason only – They have to find new ways of making money because they know the writing is on the walls.   But, a renaissance company will be excited to take on this opportunity.   This company will know that the new one exists only because of the problems created by its predecessors or even itself.  It’s a prime opportunity to transition people out of the old and into the new, creating amazing futures and limitless potential.  A chance to change the world is always better than a chance to become extinct.

4)  Be brave enough to challenge mankind.   Does the company challenge mankind to be better today than yesterday?   Does the company keep asking man to live up to his potential by creating products and services that empower him/her to do so?  Most importantly, does the company live how it is asking mankind to live?   This points back to ethics, this also points back to bravery.  At Stretch Recipes, when one of our Values is challenged, we have to stand up and assert ourselves.  One of our values is “working to solve real life problems and break cycles of behaviors that continue into generational misfortune.”  It doesn’t matter how much money we are making if it is at the expense of future generations.  We have to be brave enough to challenge mankind to think beyond today and work to help them shift their behaviors to improve the future. One person who has done this really well is Elon Musk with Tesla.   Previous electric car makers were not brave enough to challenge mankind or disturb the peace.  They had to appease their shareholders, partners, and the system.  So, they made the worlds ugliest cars.  If people wanted to reduce dependence on oil and they wanted to drive an electric car to reduce their carbon footprint, these car companies figured that people one, wouldn’t care about what the car looked like and would want to get their slowly.  People in the consumer market felt that the planet wasn’t worth them being seen in these ugly cars.   Tesla in not these words, although I imagine them to be said, “I’m not driving that shit and wake up if we keep going at this rate the planet is screwed.”   Tesla created an amazing head turning electric automobile that people are going to drive and was brave enough to challenge what we thought the electric car could be.  There is so much to be said, I could keep going with this, but it would be a book. :-)

5)  Be eclectic.   In business school you are taught to do one thing extremely well.  This is true and you can go really far & make a lot of money by doing one thing extremely well.   However, you must not only be able to observe and connect dots, you must also include new and alternative findings and inspirations in what you build.   I often draw upon my real estate and media background when building business models as well as events or content for Stretch Recipes.   I communicate differently than most people in the Food business and that’s because I draw upon other industries as inspiration to get my points across.   Additionally, being eclectic allows you the upper hand of approaching things differently than how most would and seeing gaps and opportunities when examining your competition.  This skill allows you to always be 10 steps ahead of your competition and saves you time and energy in going directions they may have pushed to build their business out because you’ve been measuring and testing in unconventional ways.  One example of this is people requesting catering from my business.  For a moment, I considered it as a resource to pull money in, but when I found that people were not willing to pay enough to cover the Chef & Cooks and it wasn’t in line with my mission, I was able to say no because I knew it was an extremely short term solution to create a bigger problem in the end.  There are companies that claim they want $10 per person catering, but they aren’t willing to pay that Monday – Friday for 300 people for 52 weeks per year.   Because of their noncommittal to do this, this leaves the Chef, who is accustomed to $25-$35 per head working for equivalent to minimum wage to fulfill their price point.   In my mind, if I sold houses like this, I would be out of business quicker than I could start and probably have to build the cheapest house known to man that would leak the second it rained.  To me, this is not a good deal or approach.   I approach all business transactions as building a house.  When I contract chefs, I do so with the intent of providing value to them and being able to work with them in the future.  Same goes for the app.  Stretch is the foundation for a house.  Without a strong foundation, the house will not last.  It is because of this eclecticism, I approach problem solving differently than people who are in the food industry to create fresh takes on solutions in order to create impact.



These are the 5 ingredients it takes to Build a Renaissance Company.   When mixing all of these recipes, it makes the perfect meal plan for building Stretch Recipes, the Company.   We hope you enjoyed this 8 part series and are excited to make 2016 a green year!

What do you think it takes to build a Renaissance Company?  What companies do you think will contribute to the Great Millennial Renaissance in 100 years from now?  What are the recipes and/or ingredients you would use to build your company?


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