If you play the game of rugby there is a good chance that you’ve heard of the brand Rugby Bricks. Founded by Peter Breen in 2017, the NZ company is dedicated to laying a foundation of knowledge to build world-class rugby players, on and off the park.
Since it’s First Instagram Post 4 ½ years ago, Rugby Bricks has flourished, as Breen’s IP has gained:
• Multiple 6-figure annual revenue returns
• 100% year on year growth
And gaining such a reputation for excellence, its product is now:
• The official kicking tee of the Melbourne Storm, the NRL’s most successful franchise
• Used by the world’s most accurate goal kicker, alongside hundreds of other professionals who market the product for free
That’s pretty impressive.
And I’m very fortunate to have experienced a lot of the journey up close, sitting shotgun as Rugby Bricks’ managing director for the past 3 years.
Given what I’ve seen from the passenger seat, and heard in my interviews with Pete himself, it’s clear Rugby Bricks nailed 3 key things early, to emerge as one of the fastest-growing names in world rugby.
I’m going to break down those 3 things in this article, before giving an exact ‘how-to’ in a follow-up piece. If you’re looking to start your own business, my insights here will go hand-in-hand with my Five Principles for Entrepreneurial Success.
Let’s dive in.
1. Form A Different Perspective
When we’re starting out, most of us are narrow. We’re narrow in our relationships, we have a narrow set of skills, and, worst of all, we’re narrow-minded. In business however, most success comes from leveraging the accumulated learnings of those around you, to form unique insights.
Pete found his inspiration to launch Rugby Bricks this way:
“When I started Rugby Bricks, I found a lot of ex-pro players talking about their career with no-one listening. I knew, from listening to people like Gary Vee, that there was a hole [in the rugby market] that others hadn’t explored – exposing players to the skills needed to become a professional footy player. I was unsure if I was doing the right thing, but it’s very reassuring when people who are outside your normal sphere of influence say that you’re on the right path.” – Peter Breen
Pete’s idea was a kind of rugby ‘infotainment’ (a mix of education and entertainment), solving a problem for the player who wanted to learn the details and not just hear about the big picture. Rugby Bricks’ vision was to lay one brick of knowledge upon another for aspiring and active players, and the content ensured those players picked it up.
None of this would have started if Pete had simply copied others, sharing stories from his playing days like everyone else. To build something unique, you’re going to need a different angle.
2. Build For An Audience of One
It’s been said that if everyone is your customer then no one is your customer. What this actually means is that trying to please too many people at once makes you too generic for anyone to really like.
You’re far better off to have 100 people rave about your work than have 1000 people think it’s just okay. Pete reinforces this message with a very specific customer in mind:
“After having Tony Brown coach me, I learned that there was so much detail in the game that nobody was talking about. I knew that when I was trying to play professionally, I would have done anything to get that 1% better. So when I retired, I knew that if I was just making the content for me, when I was trying to make it in Otago, someone else would be keen to watch. I couldn’t have been the only person with that problem.” – Pete Breen
You as the individual must become your target market. This strategy is so effective when starting out because it provides you with first hand knowledge of your customer’s needs. If you create anything (content or product) that you’re not satisfied with, you’ll know which parts are wrong and how to make them better.
Rugby Bricks was compelling because it comprehensively solved the problem of one person – its founder. And just like multiple of your peers having the same question in class, it turned out there were many more people with similar problems, who loved the new solutions being presented to them.
When starting a business, don’t worry about taking over the entire market. Create solutions for a small audience that loves what you’re producing, and scale from there.
Addressing your most pressing problems is also key to igniting the next factor…
3. Turn Your Passion Into Persistence
A 2007 paper describes ‘grit’ – a non-cognitive trait, defined as perseverance and passion for long term goals – as even more important than IQ for predicting success.
Pete understands this intuitively, and knew from the beginning that if he was going to build something worthwhile, he’d require a persistent passion to endure the tumultuous journey we embark on when we start from scratch.
“When it’s something you are passionate about, you really give it your all. And that means doing all the things you’re scared of and giving it a real crack to make sure that you’ve put in your best effort. That passion keeps you going because you love what you’re doing, even when it gets tough.” – Peter Breen
99% of the work you do is behind the scenes. Just like in sport, you’ve got to make sure that you love what you do, because to be successful, you have to do it day in and day out.
If you don’t have the necessary grit, when the rubber meets the road you won’t be able to generate the traction you need. And from there, it’s a very slippery slope to failure.
Rugby Bricks’ Instagram started with only 37 followers (most of them Pete’s friends). Nearly 5 years and 1,921 posts later, the page celebrates thousands of professional kickers, using a Rugby Bricks tee.
Persistence. Grit. Perseverance – whatever you want to call it – is key, because time is the necessary factor to create anything that people will value. The story of Rugby Bricks is no different.
This article is more of an overview of the mindset for creating a business but let us know if you like pieces like this as we’ll produce more of them.
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