What lessons have we learnt since opening our business?
Is there a lesson we haven’t learnt? Oh golly gosh, where to start.
Firstly, ensure you’ve got a good wifi connection because google will slowly become your best friend when researching.
Here’s our 6 tips (there’s more! But baby steps for now!)
1. Have a clear vision
When you're sitting in front of many people at different meetings make sure you know your venture inside out. There's nothing worse than getting asked a question and not having an answer. Especially if like us you start a brand new business concept in the county. Also, make sure you get your 2 pence piece. Often at meetings, it can be overwhelming especially when others are talking about your ideas and possibly not explaining them very well - have a voice!
2. Don’t be afraid to ask advice!
Even if it's ringing a larger company to ask advice on how to install something. Many won't give you the answers but it's always worth a try. Stop attempting to work things out on your own and going round in circles. Pick up the phone and give them a call. It'll take half the time and more often than not give you a straight answer.
3. Don’t sell yourself out!
In our early days we were approached by the big boys. A national company asking if we'd drop our idea and do it for them. Absolutely not was our answer (but in a nice way!). We started a business as siblings because we wanted to run it how we imagined, not someone else’s idea. We wanted the freedom to expand when we wanted and have full control of the stop & go button. Doing what's right for us.
We also had members of the public saying 'why don't you do this 'just get investors'. Again, we wanted our business to be solely our own, it's tough but totally worth it.
4. Make sure people take you seriously!
When we began our venture we were all in our 20’s (Steph just turning 21, Mark 24 and Sarah 27) unlucky for Sarah she’s now into the 30 category. Although it absolutely shouldn’t have happened, we did often get dismissed or not taken seriously due to our age and because we were under pressure at the time we just allowed it to happen in order to reach our goal. Which in hindsight we shouldn’t have done. It’s happened in numerous situations, whether it’s meetings in the early days, asking for advice or even at car garages when looking for a company car. Due to our youth (that’s slowly disappearing haha!) we were often overlooked or seen as another gimmick.
So, when the time is right - stand up for yourself.
5. Enjoy it!
It’s super important to remember why you started in the first place. We’ve now officially been operating for 3..going on 4 years. We can tell you we still don’t know all the answers and we still haven’t got the work/life balance right but it’ll come! What we have learnt is that you really need to recognise when it’s time to step away from all the jobs and go enjoy yourself. That email can be answered in the morning, how about having an early night and sorting the dishes in the morning etc. For us, we often forget how much wakeboarding is our stress reliever especially in the busy summertime and we got used to not being able to ride at all in busy periods. But now we make ourselves go out and ride after a long day and you betcha, it’s so worth it! Why do the customers get all the fun?!
6. Take the comments with a pinch of salt!
Putting an idea out there or promoting your business will always have its ups and downs and YES it’s daunting. It’s daunting to know what people really think. Often, the things you remember most are for all the wrong reasons. That comment you saw questioning how your business is run or why you’re not doing this or that. They hurt! But you’ve got to remember, you won’t be everyone’s cup of tea and it’s just learning to be ok with it. Whenever you’re feeling blue, why not scroll through some awesome reviews or customer pictures, it’ll remind you why you started.
Remember, as they say, all publicity is good publicity.
If you’re thinking of starting your own little venture then we hope this has helped a little. You never know what the future may hold (a global pandemic comes to mind) but hold on tight, if you really want it, it’ll happen!
We often share insights and our ‘oh no’ moments so why not follow our journey via social media to find out more!