I’ve been in business for over 25 years. As a female entrepreneur, it took a lot of dedication, perseverance, resources, and money to get to where I am today. Though it’s challenging, owning your own business is not impossible. Here are some of my own personal practical tips for starting and running a small (growing) business.
Pick a great team. People are everything and will make or break your business. Your organization is only as good as the people behind it. Find people who have passion, commitment, and creativity. I like to surround myself with a community of people who acquire some traits that remind me of myself in some way, but that have expertise in what I lack. Hire people you respect most but don’t be afraid to be relentless about creating an amazing team
Your product or service should solve problems. Start with solving a problem instead of having a product and then searching for problems it might solve. When you create a problem-driven business, eventually you will be of great use to those who need a solution. And if you are unique enough, and readily available, your business will flourish quickly. Therefore, you’ll need to know your customer base and their needs. And think about why someone should spend their money on your product or service. Some of my clients travel to my shop from all over the country because they know I’m the best person to solve their hair issues.
Be financially savvy. Have a steady income. Don’t spend what you don’t have, and make the most of the resources you DO have, like the SBA, and spend your money wisely. Always create a budget before spending any money and be realistic with your numbers. And most importantly, build your credit. You never know when you may need to borrow money from the bank.
Your marketing efforts should overlap. That means, do spend your money on advertising, PR, social networking, direct mail, e-mail campaigns, and any other ways to build brand awareness through all outlets simultaneously. Using only Facebook and Twitter helps a little, but it won’t work as your only means of marketing. You need to attract a huge audience first before you can engage a small percentage of people who actually want to try out what you are offering.
Think outside the box. I knew I didn’t want to be a company that sold wigs made of synthetic hair. There are thousands of those out there. I had to stand out. I had to be unique. I had to be innovative. My hair is the only of its kind. 100% Italian hair, hand-made, eco-friendly, and customized to each client’s needs. Now that’s different. But when it was time to start rebranding my company’s image and realign our vision this year, I knew it had to be so out of the box, that it would drive PR and generate new leads. So I built my Mobile Hair Studio. A Mercedes traveling hair showroom – it’s the broadcasting mechanism for everything I do. The story of the vehicle and its purpose to drive to women’s communities to help with their hair challenges got LeMetric noticed once again. So make sure your brand will have everyone talking. Standing out from the crowd goes a long way.
Be tenacious. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it. Recognize your biggest challenges and when you face them, push yourself to overcome them. You have to decide what YOU want, not what others want you to do. Focus on the bigger picture, and have a clear vision of where you want your company to go. Trust yourself enough so that you are willing to do whatever it takes to make something work.