I’m sure you’re sick of hearing the “do what you love” quotes all over social media. It’s always so easy for someone to say that to you but starting out on a passion or business is seriously easier said than done. Here are some notions & insights I’ve collected over the years with my experience from my own company and also my friends’. I do hope this would give you something to remember as you work towards your dream.
- Obsessed about Sales
You’ve slogged day and night to get your brand ready for the big reveal. Finally your website is ready to go LIVE! The excitement and sheer joy of launching your new brand is overwhelming… until you realize weeks or months down the road that you haven’t sold a single item or sales was just not up to par. You feel cheated and depressed that nobody likes your products and you’re thinking of plan B or an exit.
The most common thing I hear about a new startup company or online store is, “why don’t I have sales?” and “i just want sales, how to get them?”. You need to know that it’s very common for this to happen. Your mission in the first 6 to 12 months of your big launch is not SALES, but LEADS. Set your marketing objective to increase awareness about your brand instead of hitting a certain dollar value. Any sales that result is a bonus and a gauge on whether you’re doing everything right so far. Keep tweaking and soon you’ll see results, and if not, ask yourself what can be changed.
2. Sell to your friends and family first
NOT! I hate to tell you this but your friends and your family will be your WORST CUSTOMERS YOU WILL EVER COME ACROSS in the history of your brand. Many brands think that the best way to get the word out. Well, you do have them on your Facebook and they are low-hanging fruit. DO NOT LISTEN TO WHAT YOUR BRAIN IS TELLING YOU RIGHT NOW.
- Most of them expect discounts because of the relationship you have with them. Some deserve it, some don’t. And real friends should expect to pay full price.
- They require the most ‘service’. Instead of buying from you online, they chat with you and tell you what they like, but no, not in the colour you offer but something just not available in the market just yet. They scream that they LOVE LOVE LOVE your designs but asks if they can customize this, this and that to make it look completely different. You get the drift.
- They don’t give you honest feedback. Since they are your friends, they don’t want to hurt your feelings. They don’t tell you constructive comments that could help bring you to the next level.
Not everyone is as bad as i described above, but I always recommend targeting strangers first (who are also your key audience segmentation). When they hate something about your brand, they will never hesitate to let you know. When someone who doesn’t know you buys something from your brand, THAT is the joy you will receive because they genuinely love your products and don’t bother to patronize you as a person.
3. Getting personal
Your brand is your baby. It’s a reflection of your personal style, taste and quality control. You are the brand AND THE BRAND IS YOU! But please, do not take it personally when you receive bad feedback. You will feel your gut wrenching and your heart sinking but as someone wise once said “cry on the inside like a winner” and suck it up. It’s not personal. Your customers do not have a vendetta against you. Yes they have bad teeth but no, do not go personal.
I’ve learnt this the hard way many times and i always let myself get very affected by bad things people say about my products. But i slowly started to see the silver lining of this. Take every bad feedback or comment as an opportunity to turn it around or to win that customer back. Prove to them you are not half bad and they’ll slowly come around.
4. I Need a swanky new office
When you are not ready, you’re not ready. There is no shame in having no staff or no office. There’s alot of shared office spaces now blossoming in the city where you can rent a table to work for $400 or more. But do you really need it? If your reason for getting an office is that you can’t concentrate working at home, I’m sorry #sister (or #brother) i’m calling your bluff. If you’re obsessed with your business, that’s ALL YOU ARE GOING TO DO once you wake and till the moment you go to bed. You’re not studying for the O’s here.
I started to get an office because i needed to hire staff and I needed work life balance. Being in the office made me efficient and lets me put work behind when I get home. So what’s your reason for getting an office or table space? Do you really need one? Well if you do here are some co-working spaces that I would recommend:
I’m sure i’m only covering the tip of the ice berg with this topic and I’ll share more in my next post. But for now, let me know if you have any comments for what I say on getting started. I also welcome questions! Comment below or shoot me an email!