Start-up Lessons from the Venetian Empire

The story of Venice is one that is worth narrating because of the invaluable lessons entrepreneurs can learn from it.

In a nutshell, the Venetian Republic was a remarkable district of the early era of the technological evolution. For over 800 years, they maintained a long-standing reputation and relevance in military technology and innovations. They succeeded in building a somewhat invincible and robust economy whilst leveraging on their vantage location and securing their borders. The only twist to this story was the sudden downturn experienced by the empire in reaction to a drastic change in favourable factors.

Over many centuries, they built a solid trade system around consistent practices, which later became stereotyped and old-fashioned. The ancient traditional path made them complacent to changing trends and instead of innovating, they focused on making profits on the existing models they had in place. Soon, the world had moved far ahead, making Venice less relevant. Other more efficient and up-to-date innovations sprang up and that took the eyes of the world away from Venice. Their competitive advantage nosedived and so did the economy over time.

Entrepreneurs and innovators of the 21st century need to take a cue from this unfortunate incident because the same life’s principles are applicable in business terrains especially in the face of innumerable start-ups and technological innovations springing up all over the world with high competition. Now, what are the key learning points in Venice’s story?

As an entrepreneur, the thought of the future should be enough driving force for you to consistently push your business ahead of present successes. In order to remain sustainable and relevant, you must continuously improve, reinvent and innovate. Be smart, sensitive and adaptable to changes in your sphere of business; always looking ahead for better and unconventional ways.

You must never forget that it takes one great innovation (which you refused to adapt to or match up with) that your competitors can leverage on and your own downturn would become inevitable. Always seek for more opportunities around you. Continue to review your business model in line with trendy methods and technologies. Most importantly, keep your eyes on the ball, the bigger picture and a vision for setting up your business.

Finally, accept the hard fact that change is the only constant thing in life.

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Image Source: Italy Luxury Tours