Businesses today have few viable options: cut down to “essentials”, allow their staff to work from home, or close their doors. This officeless watch brand doesn’t miss a second of work, due to its established 100% remote business model.
Life essential, the buzzword that has taken over in the last month, has caused the complete upheaval of life as we’ve known it. Many find themselves in the precarious position of having to justify their position and skillset in order to continue working and providing another life essential, wages.
Business owners are forced to examine each and every staff member under a microscope, assigning a value to their staff while remaining in compliance with directives from their governments. It’s a weighty decision that has tremendous implications not just with company morale, but productivity and on a much larger scale, the world economy.
In the midst of the panic, one company remains relatively unchanged in its operations: Aventi.
Hannu Siren, CEO of Aventi, is no stranger to remote business models. Having multiple seven figure startups under his belt already, it’s the model he’s followed with all of them, and it works. As the current events of the world show, it’s also nearly pandemic proof.
With his lean remote team that spans across 10 time zones, “essential” is the only way his businesses run.
“I have yet to come across a downside of having a remote team that couldn’t be overcome,” Hannu says, “I don’t have to figure out who to keep and who to let go. That’s an enormous relief as a business owner.”
As technology advanced, Hannu seized the opportunity to operate on a global scale. Utilizing platforms such as Upwork to find motivated freelancers, he recognized the freedoms that rose from his unique business model. He handpicked vetted talent from around the globe that thrive in an environment of constant adaptation.
“These are people that are accustomed to not doing things as they have always been done,” Hannu explains, “They intentionally sought out a way to accomplish whatever life goals they had for themselves, whether it was more time and flexibility with their families, or the ability to travel while still supporting their lifestyle. There’s a drive and hustle to my team that I don’t often see in traditional businesses.”
That common thread among his team members has paved the way for countless achievements in previous endeavors.
At first glance, watchmaking does not lend itself easily to an officeless business model. However, the meteoric rise of the Instagram sensation, S-Force LTD, proved otherwise. Originally branded as SWOLE O’Clock, the company resonated strongly with the fitness community. The message, “Strength will overcome limitations every time” is a core belief by which every team member lives. Later shortened to “Strength Overcomes”, each S-Force watch began with the embodiment of strength.
Endurance, power, consistence and dedication, the cornerstones from which strength is built, were forged into every timepiece. The strongest materials, high resistances to corrosion and environmental fluctuations, as well as reliable timekeeping day after day, that was where S-Force engineers set the bar.
The same core team behind S-Force, now offers a new microbrand, Aventi. This time, there’s a bigger goal: to democratize the entire luxury watch industry and prove that everything we assume about horology today is wrong.
A bold statement that is not without its challenges.
“Because we are so spread out, the constant communication needed to pull off a feat of this magnitude is difficult,” admits Hannu, “Every team member has to be fully on board with what we’re trying to do. There are sacrifices, meetings at odd hours, deadlines with zero room for error. It’s not for everyone. It’s crucial to have people that look at the mounting obstacles and say, ‘Right, let’s do it.’”
Outside of communication, there is also the challenge of trailblazing a new way to engineer a specialized movement like Aventi’s A-10 Tourbillon. Not every problem can be solved by its core team.
One such obstacle was the pure sapphire crystal case design of their flagship model. The very properties that make sapphire crystal so valuable to the watchmaking world, also make it exceedingly difficult to work with. Several blocks of sapphire were destroyed during initial attempts to cut and shape it according to the angular specifications.
“During those initial tests, I was very discouraged,” remembers Hannu, “The sapphire crystal case was going to be the most complicated of its kind, but we couldn’t keep wasting sapphire crystal blocks of that purity. It was suggested that we abandon the sapphire crystal and make the case with something easier to manage. That option didn’t sit well with me. That’s the beauty of my business model, when we come to an impasse, we simply adapt and contract outside consultants. Once we have the matter in hand, we shrink back to our core team.”
Like a rubberband, the flexibility of Aventi’s business model allows them to expand to meet a need, then snap back to its core shape. This keeps labor overhead significantly lower than common business practices. At any given moment, every employee of Aventi is essential.
Keeping everyone on task may seem another challenge, however, Aventi makes full use of various virtual management systems available. With web applications like Asana, Basecamp, Slack and Trello, assignments, production flows and communications stay organized to ensure that no detail gets missed.
Now more than ever, this keeps Aventi moving forward, where many businesses find themselves floundering to adjust. An unexpected benefit that is not lost on its CEO.
“Everyday I hear of more and more people without jobs, without income,” Hannu laments, “It’s hard to feel fortunate when there are so many that aren’t sure how they will keep their homes and feed their families. I am grateful that, through all of this, I’m able to keep my team members working. It’s my hope that our example can inspire other entrepreneurs out there to find solutions for their own businesses. I continue to believe that strength will overcome.”