Finding a viable business idea is a victory in itself, but it’s only half the battle. There’s a lot of work that needs to be done to make this a reality. Whether you’re gearing up for a launch or are at the infancy stage of your business, you can take some strategic steps to ensure a successful start.
Michelle Cordeiro Grant, founder and CEO of lingerie brand LIVELY, had some great tips to share with me:
Take the time to understand WHY you are starting a business
Let’s be honest, launching a business is challenging. To work on it consistently, you have to have a genuine passion for what you are building. You also need to be committed to it, regardless of what happens. This business will not just be your job; it will substitute for your child. No day will go by without thinking about how you can nurture it and make it better. You will constantly worry about its health. So before you go into this, ask yourself if you’re ready to take care of a new person in your family? As difficult as it may be, running a business is one of the most fulfilling experiences for an aspiring entrepreneur.
Change the word “dreams” to “goals”
Having dreams and aspirations is wonderful, but the moment you shift your mindset to think of them as goals, you will come up with an action plan. I had always dreamed of creating my own brand that inspires women to live life doing what they love. Once I made the switch, my path became much more clear. I was able to see the steps I needed to get there. You’ve heard of the saying, “A dream without a plan is just a wish.” That’s the idea.
Embrace the journey of learning on the go
Part of starting a business is accepting the unknown. It’s being okay with no having all the answers and figuring them out along the way. To borrow Marie Forleo’s words, “Everything is figureoutable.” From my entrepreneurial experience, I’ve learned to let go of the need to know everything from the jump. I was able to achieve things that first felt impossible from accepting other people’s advice and support. So I know now that the greatest victories lie in your willingness to be flexible and learn as you go.
Listen to your customers
Your customer should be front and center of your business. Through your work, you’re essentially making their lives easier, so it’s important to learn more about their needs, engage with them, and get feedback on how you can improve your products or ideas for new launches.
This attitude has served us well in our business. Since inception, the development of LIVELY is rooted in an open dialogue with our community. The process of listening to what our girls need and want from us, and incorporating them into our process is in the DNA of everything we do. For example, we listened when some potential customers asked us to make bralettes for a bigger bust, and we launched our Busty Bralette. The response from the community has been incredible: the bralette sold out in less than 24 hours and there were over 3,000 people on the waitlist.
You’re only as good as your team
When it comes to a company, it’s about what each person can accomplish individually, but what they can do together. Behind every successful business is a team of qualified people striving off each other’s strengths, talents and passions. This is why it’s so important to choose your team members carefully. Take time to assess their interest in your products, their alignment with your mission and their cultural fit. They will be the backbone of all your milestones.
By Shelcy V. Joseph