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Miguel S's story on... the learning mindset

Early on, Miguel embraced the notion of lifelong learning as his personal compass in how he approached life and business. Growing up in central Switzerland in a town called Zug, he left school at the age of sixteen and began as an apprentice in corporate finance, quickly learning what it felt like to be in business. Back then, he already knew someday he would create his own business.

Knowing this was just the beginning, it was clear he had just scratched the surface. With the intention to broaden his horizons and expose himself to other domains, Miguel’s next step was University. Here his interest in the more creative field of marketing and all things digital sparked a newfound passion. He knew though, that academia was not the only means to open himself up to what could be and he embarked on an exchange to a country quite different to his native Swiss roots: the States.

“This taught me a lot about culture, and a new mindset that failing at my first startup was something to learn from not to be known for. I also realised that good living standards are often what prevents people from going out and trying something new. I knew that the time was now to embark on my own venture, as my life hadn't quite yet been securely set up.”

Whilst still abroad, Miguel reached out to his childhood friend who shared the dream of having their own business. Their hearts and minds were still aligned on this and they set forth to create their own marketing agency. He started the business and landed his first clients whilst still finishing up his studies. He also had to get a job in finance to keep him going as he built the business from the ground up. Miguel reminds us that a business is never built to succeed overnight and takes a lot of hard work, patience and sacrifice. But how does HE describe it? He fondly recalls it as an 'amazing process and journey'. In this moment we realise that from the onset, Miguel embraced the journey not the finish line. And when faced with the decision of either building a career in finance at an international stock market corporation or having one’s own thing... the latter was clearly more aligned to his values, his inner fire and what ultimately excited him the most. And the rest is history.

“As an entrepreneur there are always ‘learnings’ we wish we never had to go through, yet still it makes us who we are in the end. I am still learning and this is what fascinates me.”

Today Miguel runs a marketing agency along with two other founding partners, based in Switzerland with locations in London and China. They share a strong sportsmanship mentality, which they brought into how they conduct business where every problem brought to them by a client is received with a ‘challenge accepted’, relying on teamwork, and adopting an 'always improving' ethos.

“It takes guts to have a successful business, if we did not accept every challenge with a can-do attitude, we would never be where we are today. We still really think before we accept the client challenge, asking ourselves if it is core to our business. We do this because we do not want to overpromise and underdeliver.”

Miguel sheds light on how we need to see our clients' challenges in context with no one size fits all approach. “Innovation means different things to different clients. To smaller local clients an e-commerce website is innovative yet to a larger company innovation is more complex, like creating a platform. Our job is to understand what innovation really means to each client.”

Not the chaotic entrepreneur but rather the structured yet flexible type, Miguel is the big picture thinker always focussed on the end game and how he will get there. He acknowledges that time is something we all struggle with. Setting the right priorities not just in business but also in giving back both internally (growing teams) as well as externally (giving back to the industry as he does in tutoring students at university).

Where does he find inspiration to keep going? His clients feedback, especially when good, keeps him forever inspired. His advice to fellow CE’s:

“Keep a positive mindset and figure out ways to learn from your experiences. We will always face struggles, and there will always be areas where we can do better but don't forget to acknowledge what is going well. Keep it in a journal - I do! If you are always on the edge, stop seeing things as a sprint but rather as a marathon.”

Miguel goes on to talk about the importance of collaborations, partnerships and relationships in business, something they treat with utmost importance and has become fundamental to their business model. He encourages us to be advocates in knowledge sharing be it with employees, clients, students, and anyone we collaborate with. Miguel has always been curious to learn, see and experience different cultures, people, to partner up where possible, to create new things. We are grateful this has led us to cross paths, we have certainly learnt from him and our journey has only just begun!

“Solving niche challenges Founders face”.

Illustrator: Lisa Williams (Instagram: @artist_llw)


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