Starting a business is hard work. If you are anything like me you've had many business ideas over the years, maybe even tried to turn them into a business before. But there will be that one idea, at the right time, that will be the reason you finally go for it.
I started Promoloco in September 2017, I had been working in the promotional product industry for most of my adult life but felt like there was a need for products targeted for a modern audience. Factories and wholesale suppliers were starting to offer smaller minimum order requirements for local stock orders, but distributors weren't offering them to businesses in fear of being bogged down in small quantity orders.
From there Promoloco was born. Here is some of what I've learnt so far...
You don’t need to be everything to everyone
Your business will likely go through the same development stages you have in your life. Who am I? Why am I doing this? When you first start it's easy to think that any business is your business and to go broad, especially if you are a serviced based business. But the sooner you figure out your place in your industry and refine it, the easier your journey will be. Simple as that.
Co-working and community
When we leave our 9 to 5 job and decide to start our own business the idea of being able to work from home sounds like a dream. The reality is, separating your home and work will become harder. Personal life will interrupt you while you are trying to work and vice-versa. You will become unmotivated and unproductive.
If you are like me, the sooner you get into co-working space part time the better.
Why go to a co-working space?
The separated working environment will increase your productivity. You will also be able to "leave" work and go home.
Being amongst other startup business owners will motivate you to work harder. You will also be able to share stories and resources.
Event and networking opportunities. Socialising with real humans… the dog is sick of hearing your elevator pitch.
If your reason for owning a business is so you can look after your children or a family member at the same time, then I would recommend joining an online community of entrepreneurs in a similar situation. They will be able to offer you resources and support that others wouldn't.
Creating your logo and your branding can be one of the most exciting parts of starting a new business. Being able to hold your first business card in your hand with your logo and your name followed by "founder" or "business owner" is a moment you'll always remember. But before you commit to your branding, I recommend defining your business with a formal (or even informal) business plan. Make sure you really define what your business is, who you are going to be targeting and why you are doing it.
You will also need to make sure your logo compliments your website template. I have recently rebranded Promoloco and although I loved our original logo it was right aligned so unless it was on the right side of a page it always looked off to me. Unfortunately, I had already committed to that logo on other types of branding stationery and digital advertising before realising its limitations. Also, I recommend having a landscape and a portrait version of your logo. This will make printing promotional products and marketing your brand easier.
I am often asked if I could go back to the beginning would I do anything differently and although it would be easier, I am not sure I would. I wouldn't have learnt the lessons about business or even what I am capable of. It turns out I am stronger and more resilient than I thought, and you are too.
By Bronwyn Smith xx