The vision and day-to-day work are more important than the idea itself, noted Anže Miklavec, an entrepreneur and founder/CEO of the ZKOTZ company which is the owner of the Goat Story brand, at the 7th Innotalks which were hosted by Slovenia’s ABC Accelerator in mid-September. According to Miklavec, globalisation allows us to find our niche. “One needs to stand out and be different.”
With their products, the EQUA water bottle, the GOAT MUG, and the GINA smart coffee instrument, they raised over EUR 1 million through three Kickstarter campaigns. However, their products are not targeting the general public, noted Anže Miklavec, the founder and CEO of ZKOTZ, the owner of the Goat Story brand. “Entrepreneurship is about creating something new every day,” said Miklavec who believes that not everything is fun but issues should be solved promptly.
He actually embarked on his entrepreneurial path in the second grade of elementary school when he was selling toy catapults. In high school he focused on printed T-shirts. He brushed up his entrepreneurial skills also by organising parties, but his wish from the beginning was to be his own boss. His first serious attempts at entrepreneurship involved food supplements. He made a breakthrough onto the market in 2010 with the EQUA trademark and his smart water bottle. In 2014, the company created the Goat Story trademark and launched the Goat mug viral campaign. It was then that their passion for coffee evolved, resulting in the development of the GINA smart coffee instrument.
New ideas and new problems every day
“Every day you need to find a new idea and overcome a problem. The start is not that critical. It is the road that is important, along with everyday effort and a good team. Nobody can do everything by himself,” said Miklavec. As for his ideas, he says that they are not that special in the first place. “Others manufacture water bottles as well, but ours are the best.” Miklavec further noted that developing an idea the entire team needs to believe in and product launching means constant work. If we want to be successful we need to put passion into our work on a daily basis.
He added that entrepreneurship was like running a marathon, with a great team being a guideline for success. “You also need to strive at becoming better every day.” And have fun at that. “If we use products that have more imagination to them, the world is more fun.” He said. And what is the reward for their efforts? “It is the customers that value a product which is different.”
Vision and day-to-day work are key
Miklavec thinks that a new technology is like a religion – we believe in it in even when we do not fully comprehend it. People in his company do not consider new technologies from the point of view of trends but rather from the user’s point of view. Miklavec is convinced that a new technology has to be developed from the point of view of user experience and not vice versa. There are few inventions on the market today which are something entirely new. In the end, everything depends on marketing.
Miklavec considers himself to be an optimist who is boiling the ocean. “People who see problems from the very beginning cannot be entrepreneurs.” According to him, one should overcome problems one at a time. And the initial idea is not the most important thing. “It is the vision and daily work that are key.”
Entrepreneur Anže Miklavec (left) and ABC's moderator Milan Lazarević (right) at the 7th INNOtalks; Photo: Siniša Kanižaj, ABC Accelerator
Being the best
Today, Miklavec conceives and develops new ideas with a team of 25 people, with profits increasing by 50 percent each year. As he told us, their long-term objective is to be able to change the world with their products and services. “We hope people will recognise our efforts and the sincerity in our products and services.”
He underlined that over the past years, it was not the market that changed as much as communication channels have. Honesty and transparency are their key guidelines in communicating with the consumers. He also stressed that they did not segregate people by their nationality. “For us, there is only one consumer, as we operate globally.” As regards globalisation, Miklavec believes that while it is somewhat scary on the one hand, it does on the other hand allow one to find their niche. “Nowadays it is expensive to win customers, not to develop a technology.”
If you have a good product or service and proper marketing, everything will unroll by itself. For example, Goat mug sells best in the Asian markets where there are no marketing activities taking place. As regard the manufacturing of their products, Miklavec noted that they first started in China, because the small company they were at the time could not afford to have them manufactured in Europe. However, most of manufacturing (of the bottles) has now been moved to Europe (Austria, Czech Republic, Slovenia), while the Goat mug is still manufactured in China which is, as mentioned earlier, the largest market for this product.
The trade marks developed today – currently with the greatest passion to coffee – will be entirely different in two years’ time, Miklavec noted, sharing his visionary views. Their goal? “To be the best on a global scale.”