6 START UP SECRETS FROM EMMA LOVELL
Written on the 2 March 2017
USING an in-flight bassinet with a very distracted and overtired baby, Emma Lovell had her first 'light-bulb' moment.
The glow of this new idea grew stronger as she dealt with the frustration of when the blanket covering her daughter's pram would fly off, fall off, or get pulled off.The experiences inspired her to launch CoziGo - Sleep and Go in 2014 - a universal stroller and airline bassinet sleep cover.
First appearing on Shark Tank, she won over investor Janine Allis from Boost Juice, and so began her journey.Like any start-up business, Emma admits it has been a rollercoaster learning experience from day one. She has shared her 6 tips for small business success with Business News Australia.
1. Got an idea? Research the heck out of it
So many people come up with great ideas but the problem is most of them don't take action so their ideas lead nowhere. The brave part is creating something real from that idea. The first step is to make sure it hasn't already been thought of and is already out in the market. If your idea does already exist, this doesn't mean you're dead in the water, you may just have to work out how to do it better than your competitors.
2. So you've decided to have a crack, Do you have the money?
Most start-ups don't turn a profit for the first three years, so you need to work out a budget and see if you can afford to launch. Many entrepreneurs continue to work in their full or part time job until they start to see income from their business. Carefully research all the set-up costs that are ahead of you and be prepared to double it, there's almost always something you forget.
3. Are there grants or loans that you can take advantage of?
There are numerous grants and loans for small businesses. The deadlines and conditions are strict and if you get it wrong, you may be missing out on tens of thousands of dollars. Two good places to start are: http://www.australiangovernmentgrants.org and https://www.austrade.gov.au/.\
4. You need to market your business
So many start-ups make the mistake of ploughing everything they have in to getting off the ground, only to find they have no funds to get the word out there. There's no use having a great website if no one's visiting it. Ensuring you have great SEO is a great first step, but that still doesn't guarantee that you'll make it to page one on Google, particularly if you're in a competitive market. And even if you do, you often have to wait six months for the search engines to crawl your site. It's imperative that people know about your great product or service so ensure you spend time and allocate funds to executing a kick-ass marketing plan.
5. Pitching - make it relevent and valuable to your audience
When you're creating your pitch, remember that it's not about you. A great pitch caters for its audience, concentrating solely on their needs and requirements. If you do this, then you are more likely to resonate with them and spark their interest. If you are product based and pitching for wholesale purposes, make sure you have thoroughly researched the market and you know the relevant margins and mark-ups that are expected in your industry to avoid blowing your first impression and losing your opportunity. Don't stop after trying once, keep sending your pitch, you never know who may be interested but just hasn't had the time to reply. This is also a great reason to research potential buyer's cycles so you can hit them with your pitch at the right time of year.
6. Be careful of Paralysis and Isolation
Most entrepreneurs start off working on their own from home; paralysis from being overwhelmed or frightened is a huge risk. If you find yourself feeling that way, write a list of everything that needs to be actioned and concentrate on one thing at a time. Sometimes looking at the big picture becomes too overwhelming and you just need to do micro tasks to get yourself started again.
Isolation can be another problem of the solopreneur, try to combat loneliness by joining business groups or relevant Facebook groups. Finding a friend that also does it alone is another good idea, agree to meet for lunch once a week, or if you feel like you don't have time make it a meeting and help brainstorm each other's issues to justify the time out. Whichever way you choose to avoid isolation and loneliness, just be sure you are giving yourself space to breath and think outside the box.