Starting your own business is not for the faint of heart. Our Director Jessica knows all too well that while the process is generally stressful and demands a LOT of hard work, it is also full of many rewards.
I recently had the opportunity to attend an event hosted by General Assembly which featured an impressive line-up of guest speakers from some of the brands Social Concepts love including Vinomofo, Electric Confetti, Frank Body and The Royals. Coincidently, they discussed how they built a business people love and provided some insights for those thinking of starting their own business too. I’ve summed up their 5 top tips to building a business people love below.
Do what you love
Finding your passion and turning that into a business is the key to building not only a business people love, but a business you love. If you’re able to harness your passion into the work you do, not only will you be excited about what you’re doing but other people will too and will value what you’ve put in to produce it.
We hear the phrase “find something you love and you’ll never work a day in your life” way too often, but the truth is even when you’re doing something you love you will still have tough days. Don’t let this confuse you into thinking that you’re doing the wrong thing.
Create your brand
Good branding is the key to any good business. Get back to basics and start by defining your values. Once you’ve defined your values, try aligning them with your mission. Don’t get too head stuck in the mission part – your mission doesn’t have to be to change the world, Vinomofo’s Michael Ellis states it can be to “simply unite people over wine”.
Try thinking of your business as a person – what would it stand for? What personality traits would it display? How would it talk or even dress? A mood board can be a great place to get your thoughts on paper.
Listen to your customers and be prepared to grow with them
Your customers are the core of your business, so you need to listen to what they want and be prepared to grow when they do. Building a business people love means not just talking about yourself, but talking to your customers and encouraging them to talk back, says Frank Body co-founder Bree Johnson.
Natalie Stuart from Electric Confetti discussed the growing pressure smaller businesses face due to stronger competitors and says it’s best to have strategies in place for future challenges. While you don’t need to keep daily tabs on your competition, make sure you stay on top of industry news and any changes in consumer behaviour. You don’t need to alter your business entirely to keep up with every single update, but be prepared to grow or alter when necessary.
Create an infectious culture
Your culture is the essence and thread that binds your business together. When you’re going through difficult times; whether it be the challenges of starting your business from scratch or road bumps that appear as you’re in business, your culture will help ground you when things seem too overwhelming.
Make sure you celebrate your milestones, enjoy the little things, inspire teamwork and friendly competition and get out of the office when you can. While work is your top priority *sigh* that doesn’t mean you can’t let loose sometimes.
Invest in people
Your employees are your most valuable assets. Vinomofo’s Head of Culture Michael Ellis tells it’s all about “building your tribe”. Attract people that resonate with your business and that put out positive and similar vibes to you. While hiring someone with the right qualifications is important, he says if you can you should hire based on culture and train for skill. Anyone can pick up a new skill and it might even play to your advantage training him or her based on how your business works.
A serious company budget is dedicated to keeping the snacks/drinks cupboard full at The Royals, I’m talking five figures each year. While your business may not be at that stage financially, little efforts don’t go unnoticed. Reward employee achievements and continue to see them grow.
Remember you can’t be afraid to make mistakes. Building a business people love takes time and money, but it will be one of the most exciting and fulfilling experiences of your life.