So you want to start a business!
Before I get started, I’d like to make clear that these views, experiences, and even frustrations are very personal. As Kallie Shoes continues to grow and expand, I often receive requests of coaching, advise, and specific steps to start a business. I am not a certified business coaching, or anything of that nature. I will however provide specific answers to the most common questions I receive. If you have any questions, you are more than welcome to e-mail me directly to firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will do my best to address them individually or in another blog post in the near future.
Here we go…
Starting a business has been like a pregnancy for me, very personal, lots of ups and downs, growing pains, exhausting days, but also joy, happiness, excitement, and so much hope for the future. There are moments where I just wanted to throw up and, let me tell yah…I did, I did from stress, frustration, sadness. Not everything has been challenging because I have enjoyed and witness rewarding moments as an entrepreneur.
-Why shoes? I’ve always known that I wanted to be a business woman, but I did not know how to even get started. I did market research on so many products, from completely different industries but nothing seemed appropriate for what I wanted to accomplish as a business woman. A little incident I had with my oldest daughter took me to an “a-ha” moment that ultimately led me to women’s shoes…Not just any shoes, but comfortable, cruelty-free, non made in China shoes.The entire planning took me about 14 months, from coming up with a name, design, register the business, selection of shoe materials, packing, etc. My biggest challenge in the planning stage was finding the right manufacturing team that could identify with my mission, vision and even my budget. I was blessed with one.
-What was your budget? How did you get funding? Budget- oh how important is budget, but it turns out I did not have a clear set budget. I knew what I wanted to do, so I was going to find ways to make it happen. The initial investment was of around $5000, you can see it as too much or too little depending on what your goals are. That is what initially got me started, and I have continued to invest and be self-funded in these 2+ years in business.
-How many products did you start with? I started with 15 SKUs. These 15 SKUs taught me so much about my demographic group and their expectations on the product. The designs, variety and products have improved with big changes since June 2014 when I launched my first collection. There’s been a lot of mistakes, learning, criticism that has improved my brand and what it stands for.
-Do you plan on opening stores? Right this moment no. My main focus is to continue working with prospect distributors they place their orders, and our shoes are made to order. This ensures I don’t sit on inventory for too long, and we move inventory constantly. The same concept is applied to jewelry and our artisan handbags coming soon.
-Why do you donate shoes too? Our country and the world in general has a poverty problem. As a woman I see the need of footwear for women. We have big challenge of homelessness here in the United States, and in the rest of the world. If I can help with contributions, I will continue to do so.
Now that I’ve covered the most popular questions I receive; I’ll go over some tips that I hope they help you get clear on the basics of starting a business.
#1. If you are set on starting a business, be ready to invest, and perhaps be broke for a while. It is not difficult to go without when you know you are building something. I’ve been here, done that, and still doing it.
#2. Come up with a name. I cannot stress how important this is because once you give your idea and/or business a name, you somehow will start moving faster with the steps. Giving your business/idea an identity truly helps.
#3. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it.
#4. Register your business with the proper county/state offices/IRS, etc. It will save you a big headache down the road.
#5. Learn about your industry, never stop learning. Industry changes, change with it.
#6. Remember that it takes money to make money.
#7. Surround yourself with positive people. Find yourself a positive and motivating crew. You WILL lose people in this journey, new ones will come up, but do your best to not get discouraged. It’s all part of the journey.
#8. Whenever you are having a “bad day” which are a promise, never see it as such. Instead, say “I am having a character building day. Those words by Mr. Les Brown have made a big impact in the way I respond to those days.
#9 The good days, days of thriving, growth and sales are also guaranteed. Give God and the universe thanks for those days, be grateful, and remember what is making those days so good…Hard work, persistence, effort, sacrifice, and the will to do great with this new adventure.
#10. Last but not least…Please do not expect overnight results. This is one of the biggest mistakes I see people make; therefore, they get discouraged. Have you ever heard the story of the Chinese Bamboo Tree? It will put things in perspective, or so I hope!
“You take a little seed, plant it, water it, and fertilize it for a whole year, and nothing happens.
The second year you water it and fertilize it, and nothing happens.
The third year you water it and fertilize it, and nothing happens. How discouraging this becomes!
The fifth year you continue to water and fertilize the seed and then---take note. Sometime during the fifth year, the Chinese bamboo tree sprouts and grows NINETY FEET IN SIX WEEKS!
Life is much akin to the growing process of the Chinese bamboo tree.
It is often discouraging. We seemingly do things right, and nothing happens. But for those who do things right and are not discouraged and are persistent, things will happen. Finally, we begin to receive the rewards.” Narrative courtesy from http://bambootree.homestead.com
My sincere hope is that if you have the idea of starting a business; you go for it. Embrace that entrepreneurial spirit, but get yourself ready for one wild and rewarding ride!
P.S- It's a nice perk being able to manage your business from anywhere! Coffee houses offer a great environment of relaxation and personal space while working on your business.
Book Recommendations that guarantee to motivate you and help you manifest your goals.
Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
The Science of Getting Rich by Wallace D. Wattles
The Law of Devine Compensation by Marianne Williamson
Get Rich Lucky Bitch by Denise Duffield‑Thomas
Girl Code by Cara Alwill Leyba
#Girlboss by Sophia Amoruso