My eight key pieces of advice for making a start-up a success | Caterina Rizzi, CCO of Breather

Caterina RizziBe resilient

This may sound harsh, but you really have to be a certain type of person to make a start-up a success. Every day presents new and exciting challenges and you have to be ready to accept and deal with them. At Breather, we’re now lucky enough to be in a state of hyper-growth but, honestly, getting here was no easy feat! You need to be able to shoulder the ambition, hunger and perseverance required to make a real go of your business, not forgetting massive amounts of dedication.

Setting goals is essential

My business partner Julien and I knew at an early stage that we were both incredibly ambitious and it was this ambition that helped us keep up our drive forward. Each week we set ourselves tricky goals which absolutely had to be met. We did whatever it took to achieve them. Picking one metric also turned out to be incredibly useful for maintaining a high level of focus – our efforts were concentrated on one goal, rather than being all over the map.

Expect the unexpected

Setting up the business taught me many lessons but, by far, the most important was to always expect the unexpected. No day is the same and we all need to be prepared for that – in business and in everyday life. Things are constantly in a state of flux and developing a tolerance for that is incredibly advantageous.

Be an information sponge!

Absorbing information and advice from others is, in my opinion, incredibly important for any budding entrepreneur or start-up. We’re all sponges and no one is born all-knowing. Taking on board as much information as possible has always been a priority for me. I’ve always enjoyed what restaurateur, Danny Meyer, said in his book, Setting the Table. Danny coins the acronym ABCD, Always Be Collecting Dots. Dots are nuggets of information, and I always find it helpful to think about this when I’m curating the experience that our clients have when they use our Breather service.

Remember every mistake is a lesson

Looking back over the life of Breather, I can’t identify anything I’d like to change. I’m never one to look back and feel regret. Our successes and our losses are what have led us to where we are today. If we never made mistakes, we would never have learned how to overcome them and become the best at what we do.

Mistakes happen. They are an integral part of the development of a successful start-up business. This is an important piece of advice.

Treat your employees like gold

It’s so important to show your customers and employees that they’re valued. They dictate the success or failure of your business and anyone looking to start their own venture must keep that at the forefront of their mind. It’s a lesson I live by every day.

Never stop experimenting

It’s taken a lot of hard work and dedication to get Breather to where it is today, not just from myself and Julien, but from a whole team of driven individuals. We took risks and tried new things, some worked and some didn’t. We should never stop experimenting! Big company or small start-up, it’s those crazy ideas that end up sticking!

My eight key pieces of advice for making a start-up a success | Caterina Rizzi, CCO of BreatherAbout Breather

Breather is the brainchild of Caterina Rizzi and Julien Smith, two long-standing friends whose ambitions and paths crossed when technology met design around the idea of commercial space. Cat started out in retail design, and Julien had written some books about technology and business. They found a way to collaborate, and the result is the business you see today. The company was born after countless business trips, early check-outs, distracting co-workers and noisy coffee shops putting a dent in productivity. Breather aims to remove these factors and enable people to work in a professional and private space without any distractions.




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