Happy Top Knot Tuesday, Babes! Let's put our heads together and talk about growing our businesses. Before launching Boss Babe Club, one of the things we did was have coffee with lots of Boss Babes we love. One of them was Illene Sofranko of The Urban Canning Company and we asked her what’s the best advice you have for someone starting their own business. She said “grow slow”. Two words. We’ve since launched the business, hosted an event, shared stories from local Boss Babes, & more. Of the women entrepreneurs we’ve interviewed so far, Jaclyn Montesano & Catherine McNew of Marigold Flower Co. (who are also THIS week’s Boss Babe Wednesday feature, so stay tuned!) also said that growing slow is key to building a successful business. This might not be the advice or reminder that you want, especially if you’re full of ideas & passion and just want to go, go, go…. but it’s the advice you need. It’s the mantra that’s going to get you through the questions of “what should I do?” & “what’s next?” and keep you grounded. We asked a handful of Boss Babes how they “grow slow”. Here are their responses.
1) "I don't think I *meant* to grow slow but, because of life's craziness, that's what ended up happening. And in the end, it was definitely best. I had time to really understand my strengths and my niche - and to really take the time to "court" my customers. People like to feel involved and heard. And it also gave me breathing room to get my systems and processes solidified before bringing on team members.
I definitely have a particular product that I can point to directly as the beginning of growth. So I continued to develop more and more variations on that product and slowly niched down and strengthened my aesthetic. As a product-based business, that was key."
Amy Braswell | PaperFinch Design
2) "I think dipping your toe in the water by testing your product/service out on a small scale to see if the public responds to it is the best way to grow your business. Do craft shows or start offering your service to friends, that sort of thing. I had been making jewelry for years before I was ready to open a brick and mortar storefront. I knew I had a viable product that people wanted to buy and I was ready. I started out in a very tiny and affordable location. If I had tried to go big right out of the gate, I don't think I could have survived. Also starting out slow allows you to make mistakes on a small scale, and also to figure out what works and what doesn't. I also recommend not being so rigid about your vision for your business that you break because you're not willing to bend. Pay attention to what your customers want and adjust course as needed while you are growing your business."
Amy Marshall | Strands of Sunshine
3) "I feel like what good are you to anyone (yourself, your family, your business) if you’re doing too much at once. Also, going slow lets you find yourself and allows you to develop your niche. The more you know that, the better you’ll feel.
It’s ok to saying “no” to things that truly don't suit your brand or overall goals (even if that means turning away business)."
Christina Maldonado | Christina Maldonado Photography
4) "I would say we are moving at a medium pace. The demand for our goods is growing and we're just trying to keep up. With this type of business it was hard for me the dictate the growth. It's kinda setting its own pace.
I try to plan while also taking everything one day at a time. I have to often remember that sometimes it's okay to not have it all together and it's okay to take a step back if it will get me closer to my goal. That kind of balance is needed to survive as an entrepreneur."
Dawn Owens | Alevri Marketplace
5) "I was starting and growing a business no one had ever done before so there were a LOT of unknowns. I used a survey to help narrow down my target market and refine my service offering. It saved me from making a couple huge mistakes."
Danielle Ferrari | Valhalla
6) "I take on extra little projects, get comfortable with them and then say "what's next?!" Small and gradual growth keeps business life exciting for me."
Jamie O’Berry | O’Berry’s Succulents
7) "I am new to all this, but I feel like I can at least claim that I've worked really hard since getting my official paperwork approved to establish strong branding and define my client base. I'm not busy yet because I'm new, so I'm pushing out content on blogs, guest features and attending all the networking events I can. It's important to me that when people do find my business that they have no hesitations to book me if I'm the right designer for them. Identifying my ideal client and event partners is something I'm currently working on to know where to target my energy."
Kasey Kyprianou | Revelry + Heart
8) "Slow and steady is indeed my business strategy. I really enjoy my corporate career, but also love the creativity of the wedding industry and being a planner. I juggle both (happily) but am very conscious of knowing my limits when it comes to running a business. I learned quickly that taking on too much at one time brings too much stress, confusion, and doubt. Instead I ask for help when I need it which often yields relationships that provide more than a problem's solution. I give back when I can to help others and keep #CommunityOverCompetition in mind. Quality over quantity allows me to enjoy and grow my business at a speed that's comfortable for me.
You have to give the best 'you' to your business and clients. To do this, you need to know your limits, take care of yourself, and allow yourself grace. This combination yields better productivity, creativity, and service. It's also okay to say "no" - that's a big concept I've been working on!"
Meagan Phillips | Southern Glam Weddings
9) "This is very in line with my product (Ha ha), but always go with your gut. Trust your instincts. Sometimes that means pumping the breaks until you can figure something out. There were many instances where I would question something based on others' doubts, when in retrospect I realize I had a good idea/was right all along. And yeah, I have felt pressured to push my business much faster than it is ready to go. So I always say to myself, "slow your roll." Also, worrying about competition is seriously a seeping, sucking black hole of despair; it gets you absolutely nowhere. I am my own motivation."
Sarah Arrazola | St. Pete Ferments