For all the other business owners out there, you can probably relate to this when I say, “Business is easier said than done.” It’s exciting to talk about starting your own business, but it’s a whole new story when it comes to running one – especially when you want to make it grow.
As a young mother of two who now runs one of the best sources of womens fashion online, there are a number of very simple yet extremely useful things I’ve learnt about business that have helped elevate VIGARI to where it is today.
Here are eight simple ways that can potentially help you in your quest for bigger business:
1. Know your values and goals
One thing that has helped inspire teams to propel the business into blistering heights is to have strong values. If everyone is on the same page, then everyone can work together to roll their sleeves up and make things happen as a team.
For example, at VIGARI, one of our goals is to be one of Australia’s most in-demand providers of affordable, fashion forward women’s fashion online. We have regular meetings to ensure everyone is in line with these goals – this creates a great environment at work, and helps us provide a fantastic service to our customers!
2. Keep the cash flow coming
Your turnover may be high, but are your profits? Make sure to regularly check your financial situation. Look at the numbers. Are payments coming in on time?
Where are you spending too much? Where are you investing too little? What do the forecasts tell you?
3. Keep reading and educating yourself
No excuses, buddy – you have to keep on learning. The world is ever-changing, and if you become complacent it will leave you in the dust. Whether it be with accounting, marketing, sales, leadership, innovation, logistics or something else altogether, there’s always something you can improve.
There are plenty of books, seminars and workshops out there to help with your continuous journey of self-improvement. Some of my most recent reads include Strictly Confidential by Roxy Jacenko, #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso and The Fry Chronicles, by Stephen Fry.
4. Sweat equity
Believe it or not, running a business involves an incredible amount of work. You can’t go into it with the assumption that all you need is a nice website and all the money will start pouring in. If you’re leaving your current job to begin a life in business, be prepared to work incredibly hard – being your own boss isn’t always as glamorous as it may seem from the distance.
If you’ve read “Good to Great” by Jim Collins, then you’d understand the concept of the Flywheel. The metaphorical Flywheel, which is about 25 tonnes, takes an incredible amount of effort to push, but once you keep on pushing and pushing it, it will eventually move. Over time, you can build momentum and make it spin brilliantly – but without first putting the sweat and effort in. I personally work six to seven days a week at VIGARI headquarters.
5. Have a backup plan
Not everything will always go according to plan, especially in business. Business is full of ups and downs, and being prepared will help minimise these downs. Ask yourself questions like: how long will my savings last me if I don’t make money from my business to begin with? Who will run things if I become sick? What happens if my most reliable employee leaves? What will I do if my website gets infected with a virus?
Who will be able to take care of the kids in an emergency? Is there a solid contract in place to deal with any issues in my business partnership or with my clients?
Who are the people I can rely on if things fall apart?
6. Leverage off the talents of others
If you want to enjoy a healthy work/life balance, then you can’t do everything on your own – you’ll simply burn out. You may think that you can only lose money by employing the right people to help make your business grow, but if you do it right, the only thing you can potentially lose is time: time to focus on the business and time that could be spent with loved ones.
Some of the most successful companies (and homes) out there are built by teams, not by individuals. Whether I’m hiring an accountant to help with the books or employing someone to manage my marketing, I’ve found that leveraging off the time, talents and efforts of others has helped improve the quality of my life tremendously. Also, when managing your team, don’t forget to reinforce your values.
7. Go online
If you’re not yet online, then you’re missing out on a significant market. If you’re not up-to-date with the latest in today’s web technologies, then you’re missing out even more.
Our online store is always being updated and adapted to the latest changes in web design, marketing and fashion. What is your online strategy right now compared to your competitors’? It’s time to form a solid online strategy and execute!
8. Reflect, adjust and improve
Just as our phones need to recharge their batteries, so do we. Running a business and raising kids can be a truly grueling experience. Make sure to dedicate some time every month just for you to be on your own to relax, unwind, reflect and recharge.
You can also use your “me time” to learn new things that could help improve your business and life in general: learn new skills, read books, think of new ideas and examine your situation as objectively as possible. I personally regularly meditate and go to meditation retreats with my partner. I find meditation a great way to ease my mind and see the way I work on my business on a whole new level.
Eleni Zaphir helps run VIGARI Fashion Boutique – a fashion forward boutique that provides women with the freedom to find good quality, stylish and affordable womens fashion in store and online. As a young mother who started from scratch, Eleni continues to inspire women of all ages and backgrounds.
Photo credit: Be-Younger.com