Like many, I have contemplated and dreamed about venturing into Entrepreneurship. I kept thinking and pushing my mind to come up with something rewarding and unique, something I love. I never thought of getting into fashion and retail until my husband said that my addiction to fashion and somehow intuitive knowledge should serve as starting point… his word were “You know so much about Fashion, why don’t you do something about it?”.
Well, the excuse was, fear, and lack of retail and buying experience. It’s a very competitive industry yet I underestimated my passion for it. His feedback got me thinking and searching and in Dec 2015, I launched my humble online concept boutique www.pursed.ca!
Starting a small business is like giving birth to a child! It’s tough, demanding and draining. We do it out of love and passion (starting a business and having a baby). These are necessary ingredients to keep us motivated and focussed. But this is not the only advice to offer myself and the reader. There are simple lessons to keep in mind when commencing on this exciting journey of discovery and fun:
- Do the homework: It’s a wonderful feeling to finally come up with a unique idea or concept, however, back it up with some research and facts. Ask everyone you meet what they think of the current state of affair relating to your idea and suggest solution. Register their feedback on paper like journalists do during interviews. Conduct online surveys and share them via Social Media and contacts. A good online tool to use in Survey Monkey which is very easy to set up.
- Ask questions: Never shy away from asking anyone questions about anything that crosses your mind: website, business name, logo, images, etc. If you cannot make up your mind about product choices, ask vendors and suppliers directly for their recommendations. In most cases, they will share valuable insight. After all, many vendors (designers in my case) want sales and positive retailer experience so they won’t hesitate to help out.
- Network: There are endless ways to network, not just with direct contacts, also with social organizations and professional networks. In my case, women’s network organizations are crucial to getting the word out and meeting my target audience. This includes Women In Biz Network and Lioness Women Club. Facebook networks are useful and some will offer free advertising to their followers.
- Change is progress: Yes, your mind will change about certain things and ideas. It’s not wrong to tweak and emerge as you go. It’s part of the evolution process of any business. Although the main vision and idea must remain the same and authentic, communicating it can change. You may want to change your product lineup over time to meet client’s expectations. Never be afraid of evolution and transformation. The world around us is in constant movement and change, so must we to succeed and grow.
- Don’t give up! All new and mature businesses go through cycles of rapid growth or no growth at all. And guess what? Even if you made the best PR and Marketing efforts, chances are revenue and sales are not going to storm in at the beginning. A newborn baby has better luck getting revenue in form of gifts and cash than a new business (that’s the one thing different between babies and new business)!