First of all, let me preface this blog by saying I’m not a ‘business coach’, I don’t have formal business qualifications or anything of the sort. I’ve muddled my way through running Avarcas Australia on gut instinct, learning on the fly, winning some battles and stuffing up too. BUT, I get a whole lot of emails/DM’s about this subject, so I’m going to do my best to give you some business advice.
1. Love What You Do
I’m a firm believer of putting out what you want to get back. If you want your customers to love your product, you genuinely have to love it too. I started this business after seeing the shoes, loving them and running a little market stall. Fast forward 4 years and I still get butterflies when a new colour lands or I get a positive review. It’s a labour of love in every sense of the word.
On the flipside, on days where I feel overwhelmed or I’m wearing too many hats, the love of the business, shoes and my customers gets me through. The hot days spent in the warehouse packing, the occasional salty comment (it’s rare), the financial commitment...it’s all worth it because of these pretty AF shoes. And you, my #AvarcasGirls.
My very first market stall, I borrowed everything except the avarcas!
2. Do All The Boring Things Right
I call them boring things, but you might enjoy them. What I’m referring to is trademarks, domain names, tax, business expenses, shipping costs, forecasting, systems, processes...the hard boring tasks are the non-negotiables.
I decided on the name Avarcas Australia really really quickly, a couple of months later business was up and running and I tried to trademark the name. Guess what? It got rejected. I couldn't trademark the name for a couple of reasons;
- I'd used the word 'Australia'
- 'Avarcas' was a descriptive term to describe the Menorcan style of sandal.
In hindsight I would have chosen a different name. All I can do now is grit my teeth everytime I see another company use #avarcasaustralia
Getting all of these things right straight off the bat will keep your business booming. Plus, once it’s strategised and done you don’t have to second guess yourself all the time.
3. Validate Your Business Idea/Product
I’ve been guilty of this. I knew an entire neon range would be loved but I ordered way too BIG. Unfortunately, these colours were very ‘niche’ to say the least, not everyone loves a bit of neon on their feet. One year on, I’m still trying to sell them...at a discounted rate.
So before you go large, validate your idea. Grab a group of your target demographic and listen to their feedback. You can start a VIP Facebook Group, send out a survey, meet in person...the options are endless. Just DO it.
4. Bring In The Experts Early
You can be amazing at a lot of things, but you can’t be brilliant at everything. I recognised my limitations early on and enlisted the help of a business coach. She specialised in e-commerce and her guidance has been a complete game-changer. Yes, it was expensive and no, I couldn’t really afford it but 3 years post that help? I’ve increased my profit by more than enough to warrant the expense.
Now that my business is established I absolutely love being able to outsource to other woman in business, I have the help of a photographer, graphic designer, social ads expert, content marketer and bookkeeper. They’re skilled and passionate about their fields and this frees me up to concentrate on inventory management and design AND I have time to get a yoga session in. I couldn’t do any of that without the help of my team.
5. Stay In Your Own Lane
There are companies similar to mine that are doing incredible things. Do I admire them? Absolutely. Do I want to replicate their business ideas? NOPE. I cater to women who want to stand out. Who have all the spunk. I don’t need to ‘pivot’ to find a new demographic or chase my competitor’s people.
My golden nugget; keep hold of your vision and your WHY and invest your energy and focus on your needs, and not what others are doing. It’s liberating to unfollow competitors on social media and opt out of email subscriptions. It allowed me to find my own groove and now growth is organically driven by my own intuition and interests.
You’ll find me just hanging here in my own lane.
And guess what? That’s where I shine. So there’s no point in trying to do anything else.
I do hope your business venture is fun, sustainable and provides you with the lifestyle you seek. If you have any questions, I’m only ever a DM away.