I never thought I'd start, run or own a business. Yet here I am. I'm a month into "having a small business" and I'm excited about Moody Jude. I know it's potential, now to allow everyone else the time to realise it too.
I'm a journalist by trade so running a small business in Australia is foreign to me. There are elements that I know like the back of my hand, like communication, words, networking, social media and website development, but packing up parcels and being in charge of "the books". Eeeek!
Starting a small business is a little like having a baby for the first time. Well, for me it has been. You want it, you're excited, but you really don't know what you're getting yourself into until it's arrived. And by then you're knee deep committed and can't back out.Thank goodness I'm an organised and structured person. My office space has everything within grasp. I have my laptop, printer, camera, products, paper, pens, drink and snacks, all within reach. Priorities!
Even the process of getting an ABN was overwhelming. Not impossible, but just different to my normal circle. Give me hundreds of pages of government documents to decipher with a highlighter any day of the week!
I went to one of my dearest friends for advice. Cass from The Cutting Room at Riverstone is the master with small business. She knows the ins and outs and can speak in plain English. She was able to give me some really sound advice and the first has stuck.
1. Do not borrow from the bank to start your venture.
It sounds like such a simple one, but starting out, you have so many ideas and thoughts and directions. If you had an endless supply of cash from Mr Bank, you'd blow it all and then have buyer's remorse.
We've got the business off the ground with a little help from our contacts on Instagram and good old fashioned pavement pounding. Not in the literal sense, but on social media.
Her second tip...
2. Go deep, not wide.
What she means is, have just a few products but have a lot of products. I could easily have had 25 different styles of sunglasses to open the shop, but finances wouldn't have allowed us to have hundreds in each of those styles. So we stuck to just four and have enough to cater for a mad Christmas rush or sale we might have in the new year. It means we're not going back and forth.
The next best tip Cass has:
3. Use social media to its full extent.
Do not underestimate the power of social media. Lean on your family and friends to help spread the news of your new venture. Every share or like or comment is a potential like or follow, which can then lead to a transaction in your store. Get your family to be part of the journey. I've done just that. My two nephews are getting a pair of Moody Jude sunglasses for Christmas and we've got some funky shades being sent down to friends in Tasmania and Queensland as Christmas presents. That small investment out of our pocket will hopefully spread the news of what we're doing here at Moody Jude and make others want we've got.
I hope anyone starting a small business has a "Cass" in their life to help them navigate the world of small business. One day I'll buy her a really awesome present to say thanks. Until then, she's got my friendship.