Women In Business

Why starting small leads to bigger things

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The song ‘From little things big things grow’ has never been truer as we see hundreds of small businesses pop up weekly. Many of these small businesses are started by women keen to pursue their passion and flee corporate life.

It may surprise you to know over a third of small businesses are run by women, starting small in their kitchen or a spare room, with dreams of making an impact. Of course, there is a lot of noise about going big or going home but there is something powerful about starting small and growing a business organically and with heart.

By starting small, you have time to learn and grow at a suitable pace that’s aligned with your lifestyle.  It also gives you space to test and measure your products, finance and target audience.

Product

Starting small means, you can test product with small numbers of people before refining and scaling up. Instead of striving for perfection (there really is no such thing), launch the product on a small scale so you have time to improve it, getting feedback as you grow.

Being smaller means, you can be more flexible if you need to change direction without it being too costly. You also have the room to test different channels of selling your product and discontinue those that don’t work.

Customers

While going big sounds excellent from a financial and branding point of view, when you start small you have the time to build a deeper relationship with your customers. It’s a great time to get to know them and for them to know you so they can become your raving fans.

Financial

Taking the slow and steady approach has a direct impact on your start up and running costs. You can save costs by:

  • Building your own website.
  • Learning photography to take your own product photos.
  • Designing and printing your own labels.
  • Ordering packaging direct from overseas.
  • Finding best prices for office equipment, paper, ink and other supplies.
  • Getting help from family and friends, where appropriate.

This minimises the risk of financial loss, leaving room to make mistakes that do not cripple you and don’t take 12 months to recover from.

Work and life balance

The problem with going hard or going home and building a massive empire from the word go means you are more likely to burn out or become discouraged. If you are constantly working crazy hours you risk getting fatigued and losing your passion.

Slowly staggering your growth gives you more time for balance with family, children and friends; isn’t that why you started a business to have more freedom and time to be with your loved ones? We have young kids, so we do spend time with them during the day and work when they go to bed.

Something many overlook when things become hectic, is remembering what you really stand for as a business. It took us a while to realise we wanted to help women feel more comfortable and confident in their skin, not just sell skincare.

Of course, there are disadvantages: it takes longer to break even and make a profit and quite often you need a second source of income to rely on, apart from the business.

While the temptation to grow big quickly is there, it is worth taking the time to put in the hard yards to get the basics right.

How to adopt the start small approach

  1. Start with an idea that benefits others.
  2. Implement the idea part-time and learn what you love about it.
  3. Get feedback from a group of testers.
  4. Acquire customers, deepen the relationship and discover what brings repeat orders.
  5. Improve the product.
  6. Scale up numbers of customers and product.
  7. Scale up business processes with efficiency and automation.
  8. Reinvest funds back into the business.
  9. Review the business, refine the idea and repeat these steps.

About Teang Pao

When she is not in her home lab creating Fresk, Teang Pao can be found outside, camera in hand, with her husband and two children, roaming the bush, camping and exploring new places. For Teang, joy is found in living simply, enjoying the company of others and knowing she is leaving the world a better place.

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