Well, we are now over the first 90 days of start-up, I can hear you say “that’s not long” but I am here to tell you, OH it is my friend!
These 90 days have flown by and all in all, it has been a magical run for Téa&Belle. In saying that there have been lessons learnt and here are our 21 Lessons learnt from starting a start up with kids.
1. Just do it
How many of us have great ideas for a business and never do anything to bring it to life, man we have all been there! If it wasn’t for Téa and Belle this product would have sat on the shelf of unfulfilled dreams. Kids do not have the same fears that adults have, where will the money come from? how will I find the time? What if no one buys it? I have come to learn that kids are intuitive and if they fall in love with an idea or concept they do not see fears they just see opportunities. If I can give any advice to someone looking to start a business, put aside fears and just get it to market!
2. Solving a real issue
Starting Téa&Belle was in response to a survey that asked two main questions:
• Have you ever bought a product or service from an Indigenous person?
• What stops you from buying from an Indigenous Business?
This survey garnered 4,500 responses from across Australia and over 46.5% said they had never bought from an Indigenous Business. And the reasons they didn’t purchase were:
• They did not want to offend by misappropriating Indigenous culture
• They wanted to know the story and the people behind the product
• And the hardest to hear was that people felt that Indigenous Businesses were not producing products other than for the tourist market.
With this Information gathered we now had to solve the problem of non-Indigenous people buying Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander products and services, but we also wanted to make our product for everyone no matter what their background.
3. Building a team
Now as cute and enthusiastic as the two-budding entrepreneur’s Téa and Belle are, it was very apparent that this would need a team to help get this off the ground. People have such a generosity of spirit; human nature is to help. These do not have to be paid positions at the start just people who have the willingness to help you see your vision through the first stage. Surround yourself with positive people and ask for help. That’s what we did.
4. Market Research
Again, the survey was a valuable tool in understanding what people wanted to purchase and how much would they pay for it. We also looked at current Indigenous products on the market and asked these businesses what advice they would give an Indigenous Start up? Ask as many questions as you can? And ask the hard questions, you will be surprised at how open people will be so that you don’t make the same mistakes. Our Favorite questions:
1. What was your biggest mistake in business?
2. Do you wish you had started a business?
3. What keeps you up at night about your business?
What budget? We didn’t have a budget! And this is the one thing we want people thinking of starting a business to know. Just do it and no budget are the two crucial pieces of our success. If you don’t have money, you have to think outside the box, you become scrappy, you find your inner mongrel and you think smarter. The reason we didn’t have money has been documented in other blogs but a quick run-down on costs to start up Téa&Belle was as follows:
Total Budget: $500
Product Samples: $100
Facebook Ads: $300
Wix website and domain: $50
Mailchimp and survey monkey: $20
Plus $10 for 5 icy poles for our first business meeting
6. A New Business Model
We just told you we didn’t have any capital but what we did have was:
a product that had been validated
two people willing to think outside the box, who are scrappy and could summon their inner mongrel
4,500 emails from the survey
With the above points, we devised a new model for our business. We knew that the concept was something that people were willing to support through the survey as so many of them handed over their emails to hear more about our start-up.
We validated the product by posting pictures in Facebook groups and received a really positive response.
So, without a budget, we launched the product to our email list and through Facebook ads. The online store was opened for two weeks and after this customers would need to give us a grace period to have the products manufactured.
Think outside the box but always validate your product, just because you think your product or service is great doesn’t mean others will.
7. Build a network
The only thing we had was time (and that was limited). We ar