Trends

In 2021, business success belongs to camels not unicorns

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In times of economic uncertainty, find out why businesses adopting the ‘camel model’ are poised to succeed over their showier ‘unicorn’ competitors
As the world attempts to navigate an economic desert, the days of unicorns, which prioritise growth over profitability, are over. Say hello to the era of the camel, which survive lean periods, grow in controlled spurts and balance growth against costs and risks. Here’s what you need to know – and how to apply it to your own business

What’s a unicorn?
In business, ‘unicorn’ describes any privately held company worth more than $1bn. When the term was coined in 2013, there were just 39 companies that met the criteria. Since then, the number of unicorns has grown to more than 480. Today, the term ‘unicorn’ is as much about a mindset – one that prioritises growth over profitability.

Why is the unicorn’s popularity waning?
With economic uncertainty looming, there’s been a shift in the unicorn ‘growth at all costs’ mindset. And, as businesses look at how they can survive an increasingly likely economic drought, the focus is turning from unicorns to camels.

What’s a camel?
The term, first used in 2017, describes companies that can survive harsh conditions, such as business downturns and changing economic conditions, and remain resilient. They may not sound as glamorous as a unicorn, but businesses that are able to conserve losses, preserve revenue and outlast financial drought are more appealing in times of economic uncertainty.

What’s an example of a well-known camel business?
Amazon is considered a camel thanks to its Amazon Web Services (AWS). With Netflix, Reddit, Pinterest, Airbnb and more all running on AWS, it’s the most resilient and profitable part of the Amazon empire.

How do I become a camel?
Shift your focus away from growth and instead look to build a profitable, reliable core. Only once you have this solid base should you start thinking about new ideas and growing your business.

How confident are you about steering your business through the new world of work? Find out how Regus can help today.