So, You Have Decided to Start!
There are so many questions in the beginning, once you have decided to open your own business. It seems mind-boggling to decide how to begin. I guess this is where most of the people are that ask me questions. So, with this being said, this advice and these business tips are totally from my own personal experience and are my opinion on the safest and best way to begin the entrepreneurship.
What are your skills? Are you good at meeting people and enjoy the public? This could mean that you might want to do expos or trade shows to begin, or possibly direct sales or a storefront.
Are you very computer and marketing savvy? Possibly not so much of an extrovert? This could mean that you want to do an online store of some kind. Again, it goes back to what you are passionate about and what really gets you excited in the morning!
One question I think is very important are cost and debt. I have experienced both sides of this spectrum and I can tell you without hesitation, that building a business slowly and on a mostly cash basis is the most rewarding and less stressful way to operate your new adventure.
When I opened B’Dazzled, I had a very low-budget and a system that I operated by financially. I used the 33% personal philosophy. I used only cash and divided it in this way… 33% for living, 33% for costs and 33% for new merchandise. As much as possible, I stuck with this and could only buy new merchandise, when I sold merchandise. In this way, I never went into debt with this business venture. It took longer to grow and it was not easy to be patient and await my vision. You must always have a vision of your goal!
Some people decide to make a business plan and get a large loan….this was not an opton for me. I felt that God wanted me to trust Him to grow my business and not go into stressful debt. It was a daily challenge and sometimes very frustrating, as I am not a patient person. I also want you to keep in mind that I was alone with 2 babies and a husband living another country. This is another part of the story, but needs to be mentioned, so you know my struggles.
I have always enjoyed retail and sales in a public setting. There was no question for me, that I needed to be out in the public enviroment for this business to be successful, as I have limited computer skills… and remember, at this time, a shoestring budget. To begin with basically little to nothing, I started with something I knew well and that was expos and trade shows. In this way, I could go to a church show or an event and pay a minimal amount to meet people and show off my product. It is alot of work, because of all the packing and unpacking and the uncertain weather conditons. It was for me, the only way for me to get started so I could open my store front.
So for me, my vision and goal was to have a store front, but I had to start from the bottom and work my way up. With every success and failure, you learn valuable business lessons. I have always looked at B’Dazzled as my family’s lifeline for finances. 10 years later, I still hold that standard in my mind and heart. My business supports my family, now my employees and gives back to my community and customers. For me, it is the ultimate joy to share my business with my employees and be a part of their lives. It is amazing what God and complete dedication can accomplish together.
There are many things I will want to go back and explain about my whole journey to this point, but obviously I am having to do it in smaller segments, or I would be writing a book!
The thing I want my readers to take away from this part 2 is….growing slowly and keeping very low debt is a wonderful way to begin your business. It is completely rewarding and lets you celebrate every small victory on the way! It makes me get chills when I think of those moments in the first years, that one person could make my day! That I could sit at a show for hours with no sales and then one customer could come along and pay my expenses for that day. I absolutely lived day to day. There were small days and bigger days, but God supplied just enough each day. That is why my Faith is so very important to me in business. It is the only thing that got me through all of the lowest points of my life, in business and personal tragedy.