Hello! I have been busy doing this and that. Honestly, over the past 9 years I have experiencing a lot of false starts. Yet July 2013 it all changed. I won a small business competition and that was just what I needed to pull myself up by the boot straps. Then in November 2013, I secured a private investment for my business. Now it is April 2014 and once again I almost lost all of that momentum. NO MORE. As of this moment in time, April 11, 2014 at 3:50pm, I decided to share my journey of building my business and creating the life I know I am to live. I will share the who, what, when, where, how, why and those results as I execute my ideas. Even though I am a private person, I believe that sharing my experiences will hold me accountable and help others along the way.
I have a part-time job, a small business and I own a janitorial franchise. Yet with all of those revenue streams my monthly income is not at the level it should be for a MBA. I decided that my business, Sculpted Silhouette (SS), will be my main source of income. That means it has to generate enough profits, not sales, to replace my job and the janitorial franchise.
SS has been around since 2007 and honestly it has been limping along. Most of its challenges, like so many other big and small businesses, is the lack of working capital to maintain inventory and to execute marketing campaigns. Said simply, SS needs more money to buy inventory and market itself. So in order to get more money I bought a janitorial franchise and when that was not providing enough cash, I got a job. At the time of making those decisions, it all seemed to make sense. Looking back, not so smart. Now I am under a lot of financial pressure and need a way out.
SS is a good business and I really enjoy it so I am sticking with it. The big question is how do I make it a successful enterprise? In the past 8 months SS won a small cash award for small businesses, secured an small investment and moved out of my home into a physical location. Yet my job, the other business and personal life (yes I have one) has caused me to not be at the new location that often. Thus SS is still limping along.
So I can continue to be overwhelmed and stressed or I can get busy. I choose to get busy. What is the first thing I need to do? Generate sales. Right now I have a lot of inventory that I could sale at a discount. How do I tell ladies I have the best lingerie for sale and how do I sell it to them? I communicate with my existing customer base, informing them that SS has lingerie on sale and then ask them to come into SS’s Petite Salon and shop. I have been doing that (maybe not consistently but I have been doing that) and my customers are not biting. That means SS needs more new customers. Where do I get them from, cheaply? Meaning how can I get new customers without spending a lot cash on marketing to get new ladies to buy from SS? Everyone (you know the various gurus out there) say, social media. As much as I balk I have to really give it a try. It is my cheapest option.
In order to effectively use social media a business needs an online presence and preferably an eCommerce website. Today I created SS’s online store. First, I had to get over not having all the bells and whistles I wanted for SS’s online presence. That was difficult because that has been the source of my procrastination. Second, I had to chose an eCommerce platform that does all the necessary stuff, inexpensively.
I initially hired a web designer. Who researched several platforms for my business and my specific needs and wants. In the end I chose a company, Marketecture.com. They had their own web design team so I let my designer go. That was not a good decision. The company over promised and under delivered in every way. This isn’t my first time being very disappointed with web site developers. With that bad experience, I decided to use another web hosting/shopping cart company that my web designer initially suggested.
In order to maximized all sales avenues and have an online presence, I signed up with Shopify.com and got a free 14 day trial for SS. I chose the cheapest monthly subscription they offered. Immediately, I started creating the site using a free template that I could tweak the look to my taste. I started this process late July 2013. I truly spent a lot of time thinking things over and planning instead of doing. If I count it right it has been just about 9 months, enough time to have birthed a baby (maybe I was figuratively pregnant, umm…) The expression, “done is better than perfect” applies.
The main thing is still SS needs income and quickly. In order to achieve that goal it needs to have it’s eCommerce site up and running. Then I need to figure out how to get new customers to shop via online and/or the Petite Salon. The framework of the site is up, I need to add products. Next step and new objective is by Monday April 14, 2014 the site must be live with 4 products. Then I can start using my MBA to figure out how to get new customers.