TRYING TO STAY POSITIVE IN DIFFICULT TIMES
I had a bit of a blow out last month. I’m always a cup half full kinda girl but the local news was continually depressing, gloom and doom for the economy, a 4th wave of Covid coming, slow vaccine uptake, riots and corruption everywhere.
If I had to give advice on what I would do differently if I started a business today, I would say it has to be people. The people you surround yourself with. Not just staff, in that department, I have been extremely lucky. But in the things that you outsource. My strengths lie in design and fabric technology. Understanding what will work in a particular fabric and what wont. It is more of a gut feeling that you can’t really teach. You either have it or you don’t. The key thing is to outsource what you can’t do, but in my experience, it is the outsourcing that can trip you up and erode your confidence big time.
It is sort of a life lesson and one that I have tried to teach my sons, though oddly, I did not apply it to myself in business. I have always told my boys to find “their people”. People that will support their endeavours, not be intimidated by them or negative. To me the cup is always half full and I try to surround myself with half full cup people rather than the half empty cup scenario.
I am always amazed at how some people who are not in either a small business or in retail, think that running a shop is easy and not a lot of work. Sure, if you are simply buying product from Overseas and reselling it, it is probably not too much work, but then you still have the calculations, stress of importing, duties and customs clearance and the like.
But working retail is a proper business and the hours are long and some tasks arduous. It is not just sitting in a shop and selling to anyone who walks through the door. There is a lot more to it than that. From sourcing the raw materials, to manufacturing the product to a quality level you are happy with, to marketing, importing, setting up a website, social media and getting footfall to your store. As well as maintaining and training staff and constantly managing them, their needs and expectations, and having a company ethos that everyone buys into.