On Thursday, April 7th, we had the pleasure and opportunity to host another How She Did It: panel event with Maple Leaf! This time, the topic was turning an idea to a business. We had 3 wonderful speakers, from various backgrounds, all in various different industries.
Find your hook
Take control of your time
Know your What and your Why
Make sure your idea is something you're good at, and also passionate about
Jessica Huie is an award-winning entrepreneur and founder of Color Blind Cards and JH Public Relations.
In recognition of her services to entrepreneurship and contribution to diversity aged just 34, Jessica was awarded an MBE being named in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list June 2014
Abigail Barnes is the author of Time Management for Entrepreneurs, a book that has helped hundreds of business owners discover how to maximise their efficiency so that they can focus more time on revenue-generating activities.
She is a global speaker, a business trainer, a qualified coach, and the Founder of the Goal Setting Academy. Abigail is a marketing expert with more than 10 years experience in global financial services and marketing.
Natasha Tiwari is an education strategist and psychologist; and the founder of an education advisory and tutoring company, The Tutoring Team, where she and her team of 65 teachers and consultants, have worked with clients across the globe. They aim to disrupt the way traditional tutoring happens.
Having caught the entrepreneurial bug, Natasha also launched a fashion ecommerce start up, www.xarii.com, at the end of 2015, aiming to revolutionise the indian fashion industry, selling affordable luxury indian and indian inspired fashion online.
Finding Your Hook
Jessica, as an expert in PR, gave us some excellent advice on how to successfully raise the profile of your business and idea. She stressed the importance of being loud, and getting yourself out there in order to make yourself known. However, the most important thing was finding the "hook". What makes the company or idea unique? What will pull people in and make them want to know more about your product or your service?
She had 3 main tips on increasing media attention:
Partnerships seems relatively common-sense. You want to pair up with other people, because it is mutually beneficial for both parties. You want to make connections and network, and have a relationship with other small business owners beyond the superficial surface relationships.
Celebrity sponsorship can boost the awareness and image of your brand exponentially. Jessica gave an example of a friend who runs a jewelry business, who had connections to Pippa Middleton. She sent some jewelry pieces to Pippa, asking her to pass them on to Kate. By a stroke of luck, Kate was photographed wearing the jewelry and Jessica's friend's business saw exponential growth. Of course, this might not be the most practical route for most people, but it is certainly an option.
We are not defined by what we do, Jessica added at the end. Real success is on our own terms.
Abigail, being the author of Time Management for Entrepreneurs, gave sound advice from her book about how she manages to fit everything in and stay productive in all aspects of her day.
Turn off social media
Take control of your time
If there's something you want to do, find out how to do it
Be clear on your What and your Why
Turning off social media and focusing on your idea can be difficult - especially in a world where it feels like we absolutely need to be in contact with our friends and our family at all time. Most of the time, that won't be the case. The secret to being productive and staying productive lies in minimising distractions. You also have to take control of your time - don't let things run away with you, make a schedule and keep to it.
It also helps to outsource tasks that you don't necessarily have the time to do. However, do not outsource a task without first trying it out yourself. This way you insure that you know what sorts of problems could appear, and that you also know what you are looking for when you find someone to outsource to.
Knowing your purpose and why you're doing what you're doing is immensely beneficial. Abigail introduced something she calls the "Teenager Test." Imagine that a teenager is following you around all day, watching you and asking you, "What are you doing? Why are you doing this?" It will help you do things with purpose and in a timely manner. You have to be the leader of yourself and take control.
Taking control also means taking a break. You can't hustle your project 24/7, you'll burn out.
If you feel like you're going to burn out, or feel like there are too many problems in the way, Abigail suggested looking at the problem as if it were a wall or an obstacle. The winner is the person who breaks down the wall.
Stop saying "If this will happen" - start saying "When this happens". It will help you maintain your focus and also make you more sure of yourself.
Surround yourself with successful and like-minded people - you are the reflection of the 5 people you spend the most time with.
Finally, start living the life you deserve.
Find Your Passion - Success Will Follow
Natasha had an inspiring story - she knew she didn't want a corporate career, so she took a job with TeachFirst. It was challenging, but rewarding for her. She shared some of what she learned during her time with TeachFirst with the crowd. She was placed in a tough situation, and she watched and experienced what sort of things helped people grow and learn in those tough conditions.
Her experience with TeachFirst led her to starting a tutoring startup. She has a passion for tutoring, and she was good at it, so it only made sense. "Once you find what you life, the money will follow."
You could have the greatest idea of a business in the world, but if you're not personally passionate, excited or good at what you want to do, it might not necessarily succeed.
Don't compromise, especially when it comes to hiring your first team. Your team will make or break your success. You want to surround yourself and put together a team who you trust and whose values and opinions you appreciate. When you face a tough situation, you want to be able to ask yourself "What would these people say or do?"
Know that you don't have to be the one person to do everything - outsourcing is an option, but, like Abigail suggested, Natasha also advised that you try it out before you outsource.
What is more - celebrate every win and make sure to have a good time while you're at it.