Making A Success Of Your Passions
Working from a home office means that sometimes I watch day time tv while having lunch. This week I saw a Dr Phil episode about mum’s having their own businesses.
I found it interesting a few levels, the main one being the reality check that’s needed when you’re starting off something new.
They showcased successful businesses run by mum’s (or mom’s) followed by showing a hands on market testing activity of a new business idea – a nail polish bottle holder.
The market testing showed two women go out to the shops and showing the product and asking different women of a wide range of ages what they thought of it and whether they would buy it and at what price.
This resulted in really useful information that should shape the product design, name and price.
Ask people their opinions and they will tell you (most will at least and there’s no harm in a no answer). Your customers will tell you what they want and how they want it. They will also tell you what they don’t want and why.
I love asking my customers what they like and don’t like, for their ideas and opinions because it opens up the world. Without my customers I don’t have a business. Without knowing what my customers like I can’t bring them what they want.
So market testing, asking questions, is vital for creating a successful business, for designing what people want and getting it out there.
The results of asking people in the shops what they thought of the nail polish bottle holder was a good idea about retail price, the colour of it – it should be pink rather than black and with some bling on it for the teenage market – the name should be descriptive (instead of Nail 21) as well as getting wholesale leads for selling into their shops.
So the market testing, the asking questions told them about the name, pricing, design colours, new design ideas, and heaps more, including that there were other competing products in the market.
Sadly for the lady who had developed this product she had a big quantity of stock made up and no customers – no shops, no web stores, no income, only out goings.
Also on the show were two women who wanted to open their own boutique. They were enthusiastic about it and completely unrealistic. I was sitting there arguing at the tv again (sadly a normal activity!). Both women were married to successful small business owners and lived in big houses with lots of lovely clothes and expensive jewellery. Their husbands obviously knew what they were doing with building and running a business given the wealth on display.
The husbands were both saying get things on paper, write a business plan, find out what’s involved, figure out your budget, plan for success really. And the women weren’t hearing it. They were laughing and saying how they could take their kids (under 8 by the looks of it) into the shop, they could serve cocktails and have a ball of a time.
So it was organised for the women to spend a day in a successful boutique that was very similar to what they would like.
To me it looked like a pretty normal day – stock inventory, customers, sales reps visiting, customers, keeping the displays neat and presentable, customers, staff helper called in sick, customers, and so on – all very normal. Then they brought the kids into the mix, just as the women had said they would with their boutique.
Well that was a disaster with toddlers doing what toddlers doing and the women trying to serve customers. And it isn’t fair on kids to have them feeling like they are regularly second to customers all the time. I think it is fine to have them along sometimes as it helps them understand the bigger world and it can be rewarding seeing your business from their point of view but they need life at their pace and that’s what childcare is designed for – their development and enjoyment. (This is coming from my personal perspective given that I thrived at childcare and still have friends from those early days).
Yet the two women thought the day had been stacked unfairly against them and that their boutique wouldn’t be like that.
Personally I thought that was delusional and insulting to the woman who had generously let them into her business for a day. She explained that it was a fairly typical day, you can’t control staff sick days, you had to accept that the customers come first and that you work long hours.
She explained that she had worked another 3 hours after they left, followed by working another 15+ hours over the weekend. That sounded very realistic to me.
Having a bricks and motor shop is a commitment to long hours, lots of work, challenges with the shopping centre/mall/street, big lessons in what stock to carry and how to display it and loads more. (Again, I must confess my bias here, I don’t want a bricks and motor store for all these reasons as well as the high rents that constantly need paying.)
It seemed like the experiment did make a difference for the women, it was, it seems a good reality check.
They seemed to appreciate what was being said about planning, learning, researching and preparing for the business before taking a great big flying leap into it and loosing money and failing.
There are two keys to success – planning and starting. Now starting doesn’t only mean starting the business. Starting also means starting to prepare for success. Yes, this sounds really basic and simple but it is a huge thing.
Preparing for success might also sound American corny blah but in reality it is a very effect use of 3 words that make the difference.
You prepare for success by learning from others – these two women had two people who love and cherish them who want them to succeed and have the experience, lessons learnt and desire to share all this with them. What a great way to get ahead of everyone else and succeed with your business! I wish I had those resources for free and on hand.
You learn from others through books, courses, articles, newsletter subscriptions, friends and family, asking questions from people who would be your potential customers – market research and testing – and you spend time doing this.
Building your skills for your business is one of the best things. I love having time to do this. And that’s the thing, once you’re in the business and running it your time gets limited. The more you can prepare and learn before hand the better it is when you’re running the business because you know a heap more!
Click here for Dr Phil’s Formula for Success. Each point here is completely valid and if you want to be successful with something take these points to heart.
It isn’t good enough to have all your ideas circling in your mind. You need to get them on paper because it clarifies your thoughts and stimulates more vital and valuable questions that you then answer.
Once on paper it means you can also share your ideas with others easily. We each think differently so usually just talking about an idea will generate questions and often confusion about details to your audience. When they can read what you’re on about it makes it much clearer and easier for them to get what you’re saying.
If you’re going to the bank or any financial institution for money they will require a business plan because they know that is a crucial component for success. And they want success because that is how they make money. They don’t want to loose money and a business without a plan has little chance of succeeding – of creating wealth for all involved.
A Business Plan is a general map that gets you thinking. It isn’t something that is designed to be stuck to no matter what, it is meant to change and be flexible.
I now have a habit of writing down ideas, putting on paper how I’m going to do something and make it happen. I write out what is the aim, what’s the purpose of the idea, of the project? What’s involved in making it happen? What needs creating to make it happen? Who needs to be involved? What are the costs? What are the results I want from it? How does it fit in for the business? Where are the quick wins for it to get it started?
Quick wins are really important for getting something started because they make you feel good. Seriously, a quick win is a great way to get and keep motivated. Why make something more difficult than you need to?
With a quick win you start learning what’s involved in running the project and what needs improving, what you got wrong (I make heaps of mistakes but that’s because I am trying lots of things and make more successful choices than mistakes and that’s how it should be) and how to make it better.
So get researching, learning, exploring and writing things out. It is a really enjoyable part of creating the change you want in life.
Ask yourself do you want your dream to succeed or fail? What’s involved in making it succeed or making it fail? It is your choice.
I know it can feel overwhelming, I know that feeling. I know feeling overwhelmed usually leads to inaction because I’ve been there with it, that’s how I figured out the quick win process. Don’t bother feeling overwhelmed, figure out what is a quick win for you and do it, you’ll feel heaps better and then keep on doing.
Remember, learning, preparing and writing for your business, for your success is doing, is succeeding. 🙂
Last point, be kind to yourself and those around you who are bringing positive change into their lives, it can be a really hard thing to do, really rewarding more often than not, but it can be hard and having loving support makes a real difference.