6 Things I’ve learnt in 6 months of running a small business.

Here are 6 things I learnt since starting a small online business 6 months ago with nothing!

  1. Invest, Invest, INVEST

One of the first things I learned about starting a business is that ‘it isn’t going to grow by itself’. It takes money to make money. When I launched Creative Christian Store back in October, I sat and waited..and waited…and waited some more until I realised that this store was not going to grow by itself and that the income was not going to just somehow ‘roll’ in. If you want a plant to grow you water it. Don’t be scared to spend money and on your business, especially in the early stages. Now I’m not saying go break the bank, but understand excellence doesn’t come cheap. One the ways I overcame my fear of spending money on my business was by changing my perspective. I had to realise that my investment was for growth not for loss.

2. Get feedback…and if you don’t get it, ASK FOR IT!

“One of the ways to encourage growth is to encourage feedback.”

Months into running a business I decided that I would ask my customers and social media followers for feedback. I created a google form and shared it around for a month or so and gathered the feedback. It was the best thing I ever did! Customer feedback is the secret ingredient for any business. I was also able to use the feedback from the customers to improve my products and come up with new ones too.

3. Be patient!

“ Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.” — Aristotle

In the early months of starting my business I found myself zealous and constantly buzzing with ideas. Whilst this was great, I soon found myself overwhelmed and frustrated because I was slowly becoming impatient. When we’re impatient, we’re unable to work toward our business goals in a dedicated fashion and as result start to cut corners. Patience gifts us the ability to work steadily toward our goals. Allowing us to perfect ideas, test them and see whether they will really work or not. When we reach our goals consistently, we build our reputation. Great reputations are developed through persevering, not giving up. Patience can reward us with positive recognition, greater sales, increased customer satisfaction, stronger profits or a promotion. We all know the saying “good things come to those who wait”.

4. You will be 1 man with 10 roles.

This I found to be a common thing among many small business owners. At the beginning of my venture I found myself fulfilling multiple roles within the business; the photographer, accountant, web designer, marketer, as well as the founder. Exhausting, I know! One thing I was able to count on was that this was normal and that it wouldn’t be forever.

5. Know what marketing channels work for you

Creative Christian Store only has 4 marketing channels and for me that’s okay. Being thoughtful about your marketing channels will not only save you valuable time, but also you will come across to your audience as more authentic and grounded. There is plenty of noise out there so be more focused and directed. To use the correct marketing channels, you have to know how to communicate with your audience. For example, if your customers are 40–60 years old, you probably don’t want to use SnapChat as a major marketing channel — you won’t reach them there. There is no need to jump in all at once, take your time. Also, be strategic about how you start marketing through the channels that you use. Pick a channel to focus on, build it, then move to the next. You’ll also see that once you have one channel built, you can use that to build more. For instance, I started with a Facebook page and then moved onto Instagram.

6. Lastly, be YOU!

Everybody else is taken.