There is an unkind stereotype of startup culture. Imagine an open bullpen of tech bros whose ‘rise and grind’ mentality puts all else second to a nearly toxic level of achievement. Brian Schutt doesn’t care for it.
“I think the mindset of ‘fake it till you make it’ only goes so far. At some point, you need to know your strengths and your limitations.”
Schutt is founder of Refinery46. This unique coworking operation in Indianapolis, Indiana was established to support small business owners and entrepreneurs in the home services trades.
That includes Schutt himself.
“I’m a marketing guy that opened an HVAC business, and that tells you what you need to know about me,” he laughed.
But while not necessarily being an HVAC expert was a limitation for Schutt, it wasn’t an obstacle to running a successful business. Instead, Schutt’s approach to that business and to Refinery46 is simple: embrace your core competencies. Ask for help with everything else.
Humility. Collaboration. Growth.
Those three words are the message at the heart of an operation that is housed in a 30,000 square foot former industrial warehouse. It’s in a part of Indianapolis Schutt described as a former “a no man’s land that is south of the cool, hip neighborhoods, north of the downtown area that has a lot of capital, west of a commercial corridor that has no real community, and then east of Butler University.”
Schutt is clearly downplaying the appeal of his neighborhood, but it’s worth noting how property values have risen dramatically and other businesses have discovered this area in the years since Refinery46 opened its doors in 2017.
Today, the operation acts as an incubator for small businesses, but not through a formal program of applicants. Instead, members of Refinery46 are invited to tap into the resources of the community in a mindful and meaningful way. Those members include more of a range these days, but do lean toward businesses that operate in and around the home services sector, as well as non-profits.
“We're really good at fostering relationships, helping our members uncover and solve challenges,” Schutt explained. “And sometimes that looks like letting your guard down so you can address what you don’t know. That’s humility. Collaboration is found in the connections we offer and encourage. And then the output of that is growth.”
That collaboration is the key to what Schutt sees for the future of work.
“We can do a lot of work remotely, but there is a need for a face-to-face culture. I just don't know how we can foster a creative and collaborative side of an organization in the very sort of sterile, structured, one-person talks at a time format of Zoom.”
It’s places like Refinery46 that are poised to serve as a hybrid solution for companies that don’t want to sign expensive leases but do want to offer their employees a place for that face to face culture. And it’s places like Refinery46 that will be the headquarters for new businesses that want to funnel startup dollars into resources other than overhead, and tap into a community of like-minded entrepreneurs who are keen to share what they know, and embrace what they don’t – yet.
For more, visit Refinery46.