Back

Apply

Business networking for profit

The problem is, many of us can’t stand the idea of business networking. It feels fake and contrived. And if you’re an introvert you are probably breaking into a cold sweat from the thought of it. Just thinking of spending countless hours on small talk in a loud and crowded room of strangers is enough to make you exhausted. Here is a healthy reframe on business networking to make it a whole lot easier. Get clear on what business networking really is: Business networking isn’t entering a crowded room, talking to as many people as possible, swapping business cards frantically and seeing what you can get from others. Quite simply it is building long-term relationships with key people for a mutual benefit. It is important for you to really understand that sentence. When you come from a mindset of “how can I help this person” (and actually help them) then you will be rewarded in return. Understand exactly the kinds of people you want to meet: You are doing yourself a disservice if you aim to do business with everyone. It is costly, time consuming and in some instances, can be very stressful when you are dealing with the wrong kinds of clients. Be very specific about their demographics, interests, beliefs and where they congregate as well as ensuring you understand their problem and exactly how you can solve it for them. Then aim to build relationships with the people that fit your ideal client profile. To make business networking even more effective for you (and to quickly increase your results), you’ll want to build relationships with your ideal clients, but strategic alliances as well. Strategic alliances are people who share the same ideal client as you do, but whose company or service doesn’t overlap with yours. For example, a wedding photographer could have strategic alliances with a florist, wedding dress boutique, wedding venues, wedding organisers, make up artists, hairdressers and more. Strategic partners are usually your best referral partners. Be the ultimate icebreaker: The idea of business networking can be very daunting for some – especially for first timers. You see these people looking nervous, standing by themselves or hiding in the corner. Take the first step and make these people feel welcome and comfortable by approaching them and saying “My name is Marika, please tell me about your business”. And if you are feeling daunted, then this tip works just as well for you. It is guaranteed to get anyone talking effortlessly and confidently. Greeting attendees at the door of a business networking function is also a great way to get known and break the ice with a wide variety of people. It gives you the opportunity to meet everyone and assess who may be the perfect person to approach. Once the introductions are over, get mingling! You can’t hide at the door the entire time. Perfectly define how you help your clients to pique their interest: When the conversation turns to you and your business, the biggest failure I see people do is talk about what they do rather than how they help their clients. Most people know what a bookkeeper does, an interior designer does or a florist does. Instead of saying you are a bookkeeper how about a statement that talks about the results you get clients. What about “I help small businesses in the plumbing industry who have 2-5 employees gain control of their accounts, decode the numbers into meaningful information that enables them to support and focus on the critical business decisions and activities that need to occur in order to grow their business”. Notice how this also mentions a broader version of the ideal client profile (we can’t mention every element of the profile as it would take too long but the listener starts to get the idea)? This will certainly be more interesting to listen to than the other bookkeepers they would have met and will encourage that person to ask questions. Make a date and circulate: When the conversation is coming to the end and you feel that you could assist each other then agree to connect the next day to set up a time to get together. Then it’s time to move along and meet other people.When there is nothing left to say, you see someone else you want to talk to or you feel you aren’t able to assist this person be polite and say, “It’s been really good to talk to you. Thanks for your time. I don’t want to keep you from networking with others. Enjoy the rest of the evening!” Stay connected: Business networking is about the long-term so it is important to stay connected with your key contacts. Provide referrals for them, support them by using their services and always add value. The more value you give, the more people want to spend time with you, the more they’ll follow your lead, the more they’ll recommend you.

Read more
Coffee Drinking Tips to Get You Through the Work Week

Like never before, the modern Australian coffee drinker is a fickle beast. Our baristas are considered world class and our coffee culture is as demanding and judgmental as anywhere in the world. We’ve become a nation of ‘coffee connoisseurs’ with approximately 10.4 million Australians (56% of the population aged 14+) consuming coffee in an average week. For many of us, it's an immense help, getting us through the work week. But how many of us really know our stuff when it comes to coffee? According to Dino Demetriou, barista trainer of eight years for coffee giant Cafe2U, there are five key elements to creating the perfect espresso (given espresso is the foundation for any coffee). Firstly you need your foundations in place, according to Demetriou: A good blend – “there are so many things that can affect a good blend.  Storage, light, heat and freshness are all factors that can compromise the quality.”The right grinder – “if the blades in your grinder aren’t sharp it will lead to burnt coffee.”A well-oiled espresso machine – “a maintained machine will operate at its best and go the distance. This includes regular cleaning and not jamming the machine with coffee.”Water quality –“the better the water, the better the espresso. For example, in SA the water is slightly harsher, resulting in different coffee taste.”A great barista – “all the aforementioned factors can be perfect, but if you don’t have a good barista it doesn’t count for much.” “The surprising thing about coffee is that it can look incredible but taste terrible. Trust your nose rather than eyes when judging a coffee. Demetriou revealed how to separate a great espresso from merely a good one: Aroma – “exhale, put your nose to the cup and inhale deeply.  Take time to smell the coffee and allow your nose to adjust. Smell should correlate to the taste, so if it smells burnt or rubbery, chances are what you’re sipping on won’t taste good.  The coffee should smell deep, rich and pleasant.”Sip – “after smelling the coffee, exhale and take a small sip. Let the espresso run from the front to the back of your tongue and swish it around. It may take a few sips to take in the full flavor.”Taste – “An espresso is a very strong beverage, so for a first timer it can be an intense experience. Remember that the taste of coffee can change, and your focus should be on how it ends tasting in your mouth, although a good initial taste is important too! Try to gauge the other elements beyond the ‘coffee’ taste. Is it spicy, fruity, earthy, or a different flavor? Is it intense, subtle, delicious or awful? As the coffee glides over your tongue, different areas will be sensitive to different flavors.”Feel – “your coffee should feel thick, heavy, luxurious and smooth, and something you want swish around in your mouth.  A thin, watery coffee leaves little to be desired.”After taste – “a good espresso should linger pleasantly on the taste buds for a good ten to twenty minutes. If your mouth tastes bitter, acidic or unpleasant, it’s time for a new barista.”

Read more
Divergent Lenses

Have we lost our sense of imagination or just how to properly use it? I propose that we collectively need to fall down the rabbit hole with purpose on a recurring basis. Approaching a problem through your own context creates a narrow solution funnel. You must be willing to get out of your own head for a bit and think about a problem from other vantage points. If I had an hour to solve a problem I'd spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions. - Albert Einstein Jumping straight into solution generation can lead to only making modest steps forward. If you are only focused on solutions, you are actively cheating yourself out of unique discoveries and novel combinations that only come through deep thought. Focused thought will uncover numerous potential solutions by evaluating the underlying issues thoroughly. The biggest problems aren’t always the most obvious. You must be willing to review your thoughts several times to see the small gaps. We all have our own unique areas of expertise, but the insight granted through expertise always comes with peripheral blinders. This produces unintentional information unawareness. This process conditions you to unintentionally overlook information. Refusing to acknowledge your blind spot will likely cause you to not consider what lies beyond it. Two great methods for overcoming your biases are teaming up with people that have different skill sets and putting yourself into the mindsets of others. A specialist is a man who knows more and more about less and less. - William J. Mayo The best way to mitigate an information bias is by constantly changing your routine. Force yourself into intellectually uncomfortable areas Consciously decide to deviate from your normal daily routine Seek information outside of your professional sphere Find commonalities between two disparate items Comfort will lead to sloth and sloth to your business being disrupted. You must constantly disrupt yourself and your business or your competition will. A great workout utilizes muscle confusion to build mass, in the same way, you must use discomfort to enhance your perspective. Using divergent lenses as a metaphor let us consider several ocular devices and how they affect our understanding. Telescope - This helps us understand distance (the future) but limits our perception by only focusing the lens on one eye. The information gained will be useful but incomplete. Microscope - Microscopes are great at lending awareness and detail to situations that may go unnoticed by the unaided eye. The drawback with this level of detail is that we may be oblivious to the larger vision or trend around us. Glasses - A pair of glasses will bring additional clarity when properly prescribed. The tradeoff with glasses is that our peripheral vision may be partially blocked and we may miss subtleties on the fringes. Binoculars - These will give us more accurate depth perception than a telescope, but will completely block our peripheral vision. Constantly using binoculars would also make completing close range tasks challenging. Periscope - This device is similar to a telescope with the added bonus of adding vertical awareness. We may be able to see over some obstacles, however, it has the same drawbacks as the telescope. Kaleidoscope - A kaleidoscope may not directly aid our vision, but it does have its place. It provides a unique approach for discovering patterns. I also believe this device is essentially a form of visualized imagination. Using some or all of the devices mentioned would produce a more reliable, detailed and interesting account. This is also the case for mentally exercised divergent lenses. Using multiple vantage points and perspectives will produce more compelling and robust solutions. Don’t oppose ideas that seem outlandish at first. Your goal isn’t to focus on wild ideas or to brush a potential idea off without consideration. Your goal is to start with an idea and use focused imagination and divergent lenses to properly vet its worth. Rally your team using divergent lenses as a catalyst for strategy and discovery. Revisiting this approach will help you identify and mitigate personal biases and knowledge gaps. Great discoveries never come from the status quo, unleash your potential. This article was previously published on LinkedIn

Read more
Doing it in Style!

Tell us a bit about your business? I run a boutique PR and copywriting business catering to independent Fashion, Lifestyle and Hospitality SMEs.  Why did you start up your business? After arriving back to Brisbane in early 2012 (after having lived away for over a decade), I found that it was no longer the sleepy little town it had previously been. Instead it was an exciting, creative, vibrant city with so many amazing ‘Start Up’ businesses, with so much to offer. What I also found was that these businesses were lacking the real recognition and brand exposure that they so rightly deserved. It was not long after this realisation that I set about establishing the MyStyle PR consultancy  What are the major hurdles you experienced when starting up your business? I have found that because I have only been in business since September 2012, I’ve had to work really hard at building my reputation and credibility. I have also found that, unlike larger businesses, where everyone has a clear role, I’ve had to wear many hats, some of which have been a bit ill fitting!  What tips can you give other SavvySME members that are thinking or in the process of starting up their business? Take the plunge! But plan it well. It’s so worth the hard work, nail biting and sleepless nights. It’s such an amazing, exciting and rewarding experience.    What made you decide to take the jump and focus on your business? After having gained  a wide variety of skills and experience during my PR internship in central London. the timing felt right for me to start my own business back in Australia. I also wanted to be able to tailor my work life around my seven year old daughter. So far it has worked out quite well, although it is quite a juggling act!  How did you family and friends react? I had really wonderful support and encouragement from family and friends. They all agreed that is was a sensible move. I‘ve even had friends provide me with client referrals and my father has been a great mentor. How has your life changed? I now have greater control of what hours I work who work for and also who I work with. I feel a lot more satisfied and happy about my career.  What success have you experienced since starting your business? Over the past seven months I have built a small but faithful client base, ranging from fashion to hospitality and not for profit and along the way have deveopled some great freindships. I have also had the opportunity to work on some great projects with some very talented people, including the gang from Surge Media with whom I workd on on a series of web videos.  What is the vision for your business going forward? I am hoping to grow the business to the extent that I can work together with a small, dynamic and trustworthy team.I have just taken on a French intern and am really enjoying the process of working alongside a likeminded, career driven individual. What tips can you give other SavvySME about motivating yourself to push through the challenges that rise up while building your startup? Find at least one great business mentor, attend regular networking and ‘upskilling’ workshops and utilise every opportunity possible to meet with potential new clients.         ]

Read more
Don't be afraid to make the call

Running a business is really just a whole series of decisions you didn’t think you’d have to make, along with a few you would rather not have to at all. No matter what you’re doing you will have tough calls to make which affect people, product and profit. The first big call you’ll make is starting the business in the first place. It’s your first make or break decision, and if you don’t make it your journey stops there. It's important to remember that decision, making it shows conviction and self belief. Your business outcomes will all hinge on the decisions you make, and to me, why and the way you make your decisions (and that you make them) is more important than the outcome itself. Back yourself Especially in the early days of your business you're likely to be the one making pretty much all of the decisions. It's important the options you choose are ones you believe in and are committed to, you’ll be the one living and breathing them. It can be tough to take a determined line when you’re unsure of your heading. The decision you make though needs to be clear, any questioning needs to be resolved before a direction is taken. The reason you are running your business, making the decisions, is you have something to offer. It is important to remember that and use that to guide you when you need the confidence to make a call. Back yourself in - that's part of what makes you an entrepreneur! Process or Instinct To me, there are two processes entrepreneurs use to make decisions, process and instinct. Different people will reach their decisions in different ways, sometimes the process will depend on the situation. Process based decision makers will deconstruct an issue, analyse it and the expected outcomes before they take any action. It's usually a well thought out and measured approach. Process decision makers are the kinds who will normally have hard evidence or numbers to back up their calls. Instinctive decision makers are the ones who make their call based on what they feel is the right way to go. They aren't making calls based on nothing, they draw on their experience and understanding of people, the business and the market to guide them. These decisions will often be more "bold" than process ones. Instinctive decisions will probably be made more quickly than process decisions, simply for the fact there isn't as much research or analysis. The risk with them lies in the strength of the decision maker to back themself - doing things by halves can be the result if there is a lack of confidence. I don't see there being a right or wrong - it can depend on the individual, the situation, the desired outcome or the combination of factors. I think it is vital the decision maker is aware of the way they make their decision though. If not, their response to things not going to plan may be out, or they just may not learn for the next time. Whichever process you use, have faith in it, know the outcome you're aiming for and take things there the best way you think you can. Don't be afraid to disagree, or have others disagree with you, and ALWAYS pick something. The more you procrastinate and fail to act, the less you stand to achieve. We're often told we should "fail fast and fail often", whether you believe in that or not, you need to make a decision before anything can happen.

Read more
Find, Share and Honor Your Value

Well over 100 years ago Mark Twain wrote: " The two most important days of your life are the day you were born and the day you find out WHY!" - This is such a remarkable statement as so many people don't take heed and never find let alone give back to the world their innate, value. When I was in the planning stage of my business I went for a long walk through the bush with the pure intention of answering one question for myself: What do I stand for? I just kept asking myself the same question over and over in numerous ways: What do I stand for? What do I help people achieve? What do I give back to the world? How do I want people to feel when they meet or work with me? "Value, value, VALUE!!" The answer that came back in a resounding way was VALUE! Everything I do, stand for, provide and lobby for is VALUE. For myself, my children, clients, community and businesses I interact with. My heart sang and my mind was now clear! I had my reason WHY I exist! I want to give value, I want to help people find their value and I want people to value themselves and others. Again and again, I hear this word erupting from my mouth with every coaching and strategy session I run. Value yourself, give value to your clients, provide value to your industry, followers, community and admirers. We see it showing up more and more with a free value being delivered by all industries - blogs, podcasts, eBooks, social media content, webinars etc. All of these are not just a way to market yourself and business they should be a way with which your sole focus is to add value back to your loyal followers. This has many benefits, with every word of yours they read, hear or share they are becoming closely aligned to you, your business and your mission. Whether you're a social media marketer, sales person, business growth expert, artist, teacher or warehouse worker; You have something special and unique to share with the world. Something that only you possess! Imagine if we never heard music on the radio? Or watched free to air TV? How much talent and entertainment would we miss out on enjoying? See, not everything you get value from is something you pay for - so don't get caught up in the same thought pattern. What if Elvis decided to only sing in the shower and never in public? Honestly, I am not a die-hard Elvis fan, however, I see the impact he has made in the world. To both males and females alike, he gave them value through his music, movies and life-loving personality. Unfortunately, he got lost when he only aligned his value with what others gained from him. He, like many other artists, actors and actresses are pushed, used and abused from within the Industry. Their valuable talents lost too soon because of high expectation and over capitalisation from others. Towards the end of his life, I doubt he got any happiness or joy from in his talent any more. Thankfully for a lot of people he has lived on stronger after his death and still inspires many people. There is one man in the town I live in who still whole-hearted believes he is still alive, he walks around town signing his songs and dresses like him, has his young son playing his music also. Elvis didn't live a long life but it definitely gave his all; this is why he created such an everlasting impact. What's the value? I believe true value is not monetary, your worth is not measured in $$$ - determine your value by how true you are to yourself, others and what you give back to the world. Mother Teresa will forever be known as one of the most valuable people to ever walk the earth - do you think she cares about how many dollars she had in her habit? No, she was too concerned about the value she could give to others than to ever worry about the monetary value of her time. That was her superpower and she used it to its full potential. Recently I began volunteer mentoring for a fantastic service aimed at helping Small Businesses. I was so grateful for the opportunity last week I got to spend 3 days travelling around Rural Victoria talking to business owners, established and aspiring, as apart of the Victorian Government Small Business Festival. On the first day, someone questioned me Why? What do you have to gain from giving up 3 days of your time to sit on a bus? My Response: Everything! I get to meet new people, I get to learn from them and hear about their business. I get to use my superpower of idea generation and draw on my personal and business experience to help them formulate an action plan to see them overcome challenges and help their business grow. I get to inspire, support and help in any way I can doing something I love to do! For me, that is the Value I want to give to others and when you love something, do it as much as you can! Now don't get me wrong Yes, we do all need to eat, pay bills and we definitely deserve to enjoy life. So don't be giving away your time and talent 100%. Value yourself too! What I am suggesting is give what you can whether you gain from it or not. Exceed expectations of your customers and clients - this is not only a nice thing to do on your behalf but all those little things you can do to have happy customers means much bigger returns for your business from repeat customers and raving referrals. Don't get so caught up in the profit of business and your time that you forget to give back. Find ways to give generously of your time and value instead of just buying a $5 badge and hoping that is enough to get you even with the Universe. Get involved with helping your community group market their next event because they have no idea how to set up a facebook page let alone run an ad campaign. Do a presentation, offer advice for no reward, organise an showcase, run a demonstration. That is truly honouring your gift and you will always be rewarded in many ways. Or if you are like my incredible sister who is passionate about health and fitness but her personality thrives on stability. So now she works full time, runs gym classes 3 days a week and is building a Girls Stand Strong movement that is by helping teenage girls by teaching them to have Healthy minds, bodies and spirits. You don't have to be working in your own business, company, agency or practice that is based around your genius to be fully giving value back to the world. Do it on the side where you are able to give fully without needing it to sustain your financial obligations if that's what is comfortable for YOU! Be grateful for your talent, superpower, executive functioning whatever you want to call it and share it proudly with the world so that we all may have the opportunity to become better people from experiencing it. Step Up , Show Up and Own It!!  

Read more
Forex Spot vs Options Trading: What's the Difference?

There are differences between spot and options trading and which to use depends on your strategy, time and appetite risk. Spot trading’s transactions are executed almost immediately while options are executed based on your deal’s date. Spot trading can be for short term to long term while option trading is usually a short-term trade.​   Forex trading is one of the most popular ways to make money online today because traders can make a quick profit by exchanging currencies. The two most commonly used forms of forex trading today are forex spot trading and options trading. If you’re interested in starting forex trading, you may be wondering which one is right for you. This article will show you the major differences between them and give you enough information to help you decide. Difference #1: Physical exchange Spot trading in the forex market is an exchange of currencies. For example, if you trade the EUR/GBP currency pair in the forex spot market, you will be asked to provide euros in exchange for British pounds. Meanwhile, when participating in forex options trading, you are signing contracts with a party to trade a specific amount of a currency pair at a predetermined exchange rate by a given date. With options trading, you may not own underlying assets but still can benefit from their movements. Difference #2: Trade execution In forex spot trading, when you exchange one currency to another, your trade will be executed immediately or shortly thereafter. What about forex options trading? Unlike spot trading, the transactions will be carried out at a predetermined date in the future. Difference #3: Trade duration Forex spot traders are a diverse bunch. They can be long-term traders who buy and hold currencies for a very long time. They may also be mid-term traders who hold currencies for weeks. Or, they can be short-term traders, speculators, and scalpers. Most forex options traders, however, are short-term. They usually close out their contracts before settlement and rarely trade currencies physically. Forex spot vs options trade example Suppose the EUR/USD’s exchange rate is currently at 1.3000. Forex spot traders predict that the euro will fall against the US dollar in the future. Therefore, they exchange their euros for American dollars. When the price decreases to 1.2000, these traders exchange their dollars for euros, and just like that, they make a profit of $0.1 for every euro exchanged. On the other hand, when options traders predict that the EUR/USD’s exchange rate will fall, they open a Put order at 1.3000. In other words, they sign a contract with a broker that allows them to sell 1 euro for 1.3 US dollar at the end of the contract. If the EUR/USD falls to 1.2000 at the time when the contract ends, these traders can still exchange 1 Euro for 1.3 US Dollars following the deal they agreed with the broker. Forex Options Trading There are currently two popular types of forex options: Vanilla and Binary. They have several differences: Vanilla options allow you to buy or sell an underlying asset at a predetermined price on a specific date. Often, vanilla options are available from forex brokers. Binary options allow you to profit from predicting the direction of an underlying asset’s price. You place a Call order if you think an asset’s price will move up, and place a Put order if you think an asset’s price will move down. If your prediction is correct, you will receive a predetermined payout, usually 70 to 90% of your investment amount. However, if your prediction is wrong, you will lose the entire investment amount. Conclusion Those are the major differences between forex spot trading and options trading. Which one you use will depend on your approach to the forex market. Consider your time, strategy and trading personality to find the right form for you.

Read more
Fourzero Baby Wear Hero

        Tell us a bit about your business? Fourzero newborn essentials are ethically designed and made in Australia.  Fourzero is a beautiful collection of wardrobe essentials for newborn babies.  The clothing has been designed with my vast knowledge of newborn babies and includes many design features to keep the newborn baby settled and comfortable.  Fourzero clothing garments are suitable from birth to ten weeks old.  The accessories are fast becoming favourites within the family through to toddler years. Each piece is lovingly made by our team in Brisbane from Organic Cotton and Bamboo providing soft luxury for the new baby.  The buttery soft fabric swaddles the newborn allowing them to settle and relax after birth.  I am passionate about providing support to new parents with their babies and each design is embedded with my knowledge as a Paediatric Intensive care nurse. Why did you start up your business?  Fourzero was established after relocating in Australia Permanently in 2010 and realising that my nursing qualifications would not translate directly to a working role in neonatology.  I had been working in Europe for a decade. I took the decision to start my own business and apply the vast knowledge I have from my nursing career into designing and manufacturing my own clothing label for newborns.  A daunting and frightening experience at times but I am glad that being unable to work as a nurse has given me the opportunity to take the plunge and work for myself.  I would have it no other way.  It’s not only exciting but exhilarating watching others understand my passions for newborns. I believe there was a gap in the market for purpose fitting clothing for the newborn.  I have dressed and cared for hundreds of babies and their needs are all the same, to have clothing that fits correctly, is comfortable and easy to sleep in from birth to ten weeks.  This enables a settled routine early on after birth.  I believe my collection meets these needs and enables parents to care for their babies and eliminate another skill to learn in the daunting time of parenthood. What are the major hurdles you experienced when starting up your business?   Fourzero Pty Ltd was established in November 2010 but did not trade to the public until June 2012.  In the eighteen months after establishment I took this time to develop the brand and learn the skills necessary to run a successful fashion label for babywear.  I have had to learn about Intellectual property rights, pattern making, how to sew garments so that I can communicate with my manufacturers properly and how to conduct myself in the business world. Being a nurse I have been able to utilise many of the skills I already possess such as time management, hard work ethic and attention to detail. The greatest obstacle was learning about the textile industry and especially because I am manufacturing onshore.  I do not have a fashion degree but I have a keen interest in fashion and a vast knowledge in how to dress babies.  With these skills it took twelve months to work with different professionals in the industry until I found the right working relationships to establish a clothing collection.  I count the pattern makers, manufacturers and web developers as part of the fourzero team even though they are all independent businesses I contract work through. Manufacturing in Australia is a complicated process with the textile laws changing over the past two years.  I have to be up to date with current working practices and the product safety laws linked to children’s clothing. Planning is key in order to keep the momentum in your business.  Finances, marketing and functioning of the business all need to have structure ongoing planning has to happen. What tips can you give other SavvySME members that are thinking or in the process of starting up their business? Research and Plan. Be realistic in your aims for the business.  Think very clearly about your business name and have your business plan outlined that includes your USP (unique selling point). It’s about recording your ideas and constantly developing them.  A business plan is never static. Understanding the structure you need to set the business up in the correct nature for your business. Intellectual property should never be overlooked.  Fourzero Pty Ltd did not start out as so, after a trademark application was rejected I had to go back to the drawing board and looking back I am grateful I had to before I launched to trade because a rebrand would have been very costly, confusing for existing customers and I would have to restart my branding campaigns all over again. Invest in a professional logo that isn’t bought from a collective or pre-made site that others can use.  This may seem like a large cost to begin with but in the long term it’s a very small price to pay. Finances need to be planed carefully.  Is it feasible to work on the business fulltime whilst you cannot draw a wage or would it be better to start your business alongside your job until turnover is established? It is a slow process getting the business to succeed.  Do not be afraid by failure or the time it takes to get to a functioning point for turnover.  On average a new business will not turnover a profit for four years! Research and knowledge of your target market you wish to provide for is fundamental to understand where your product or service is going to lay in the market place.  Start to ask questions to people who are not your friends or family to receive honest answers about your business idea.  Search for competitors and start to look at how their business works and what can you learn from them if you do go into business.  You need to be aware of the market place is it saturated?  How are you going to sell to your customer? Can you make a passive income from the business also?  Are you fulfilling a need for your customer? Social media is important in a business but Facebook, Google+ or twitter is no use to you if they are not enabling revenue to be had from your business.  Nor is it useful if it takes all your time away from the business.  Social media is great for support and networking.  Once you have your ABN in place and you have secured your trading name secure the domain names in all the markets you think you will cover that includes Australia and international.  Once that is completed secure an email address that links to your business name.  There is nothing more unprofessional than using a free website address.  Personally it is acceptable but not in business it makes you look small.  There is nothing wrong with being a small business working from home, ‘fake it until you make it!’ Lastly, get professional business cards.  You can get many for free but make sure the quality reflects your brand identity. Fourzero is a very unique business model because I only focus on a small part of the babywear industry.  I manufacture onshore and I only use the finest materials for my garments.  I am focusing on the gift market for newborn babies.  With this in mind my ongoing expenses are very high and I needed to be aware of this before outlaying a large amount of capital.  I was very clear about this from the start of my business journey.  You will never please everyone but aim for the highest expectations in the customers you do serve. What made you decide to take the jump and focus on your business?  After realizing I could not continue my successful nursing career from Europe I took the plunge and invested in my company.  How did you family and friends react? Supportive.  My husband and I enjoy our life and we work so that we can enjoy it.  Work should never be difficult and if you don’t love what you do find something that makes you happy.  How has your life changed?  I have become more confident and I am truly happy with my career.   What success have you experienced since starting your business? Fourzero has been recognised as a boutique brand for babywear by the experts in the fashion industry.  Fourzero came seventh in the ‘National Launch your Label’ Competition 2012 eight weeks after launch.  Fourzero was one of fifteen semifinalists in the competition and we were the only babywear brand amongst women’s couture, accessories and swimwear. Ethical Fashion Forum in London has awarded Fourzero for our innovative and progressive brands because we are committed to sustainability and fair working conditions during Australian Manufacture.  The ‘Fellowship 500’ units 500 like-minded international businesses on the same platform to help inform and grow the fashion industry through out the world.  Fourzero was recently showcased in the international ‘Source’ tradeshow for sustainable fashion in London. Being showcased in magazines and websites for our collection of luxuriously soft boutique babywear. What is the vision for your business going forward? Fourzero to be known as the go to newborn brand on the market.  I hope to be stocked throughout Australian Boutiques and International department stores. What tips can you give other SavvySME about motivating yourself to push through the challenges that rise up while building your startup? Vision and belief in your business are very important.  Passion naturally comes through if you love what you do and you are honest.  A customer will not buy into your brand if you don’t believe what you are saying. Quadruple the initial budget for any business you had in mind as everything costs so much more and takes a lot longer than you think.

Read more