ARE YOU THE WOMAN FOR THE JOB
We asked Designers and Events in the City Co-Owners Megan Pollard and Laura Ritchie for a little expert advice:
What advice would you give to someone who feels overwhelmed by the competition? It is important to know what your competition is up to, but it cannot be your focus.
“You can run faster when looking ahead instead of over your shoulder.”
What top three tips would you like to pass along for those who have just started to use social media? 1: Be dedicated! Do not start a blog unless you can maintain it with consistency. 2: Understand platforms like Instagam and Twitter. It isn’t just posting what you ate for breakfast; you need to make sure that everything you put out there tells a little story about what you do and who you are. 3: Choose someone to maintain your social media campaign who has a passion for it and truly understands your brand. Just because it is your company doesn’t mean that you are necessarily the right person for the position. It is a full-time job and should be treated as such.
When you think of the best people to work with, what traits do they share? One of the qualities that has led to our success has been the ability to take constructive criticism. You need to be flexible and ready to change if you are headed down the wrong path. I also think it is important for people to understand their strengths and weaknesses and really own that. We don’t all have to be rockstars at everything!
Give a budding entrepreneur your best hiring and firing business practices: When hiring make sure you like the person. If you don’t want to go to lunch with them every day, you are already setting yourself up for disappointment or friction. In most startups everyone is wearing multiple hats, so you need someone who is passionate and truly wants to help build the brand. As for firing, it is easier to do if you have been very clear about expectations from the jump. Set your process, rules, and warnings policies clearly and prior to their first day, and it will be easier to reference later if the employee is not abiding by them.
Entrepreneurs often say that “you can’t do it all.” What three things do you always outsource? 1. We outsource within the company. Laura handles our Marketing and PR, and Megan handles more of the Business Development, Finances, and Processes. 2. We have created relationships with talented graphic designers to assist with our websites and collateral. 3. We work with a CPA for our taxes. There is no way we feel comfortable trusting our business or our knowledge to Turbotax. The laws and requirements are constantly changing and we don’t have time to monitor every new item.
What business book would you recommend to someone who is either about to launch or in the early growth stage? We prefer to network with other startups or entrepreneurs rather than selecting books. We have also sought out a mentor in our industry but in a different market and that has been super helpful.
What are your thoughts on raising capital? You are probably going to need it regardless of your business model. Cash flow is everything for any business and if you are starting at zero it is very difficult to maintain monthly needs.
What piece of invaluable advice did you receive that you would like to pass on to women pursuing their dream? You have to go all in. Jump out of the boat, because you will swim if you want it bad enough. This is a 24/7 job so give it your all, your company deserves that from you.
Our best advice to a woman launching a venture is… Do not be afraid to be the CEO of your company. Network and be bold and do not be afraid of collecting money for your services. Many women have multiple things that require their attention, such as marriages and children, so carve out times to work that cannot be interrupted. There is time in the day. If you really want it, you will find the time.
What would your advice to your younger selves be? Not to be afraid of asking for help. We were very protective of our company at the beginning, but it was allowing people behind the curtain that enabled us to grow as business leaders and in turn our company flourished.
And finally, please share your top five tips that would benefit an entrepreneurial woman launching or growing her business:
- Network! You need to get out into the mix with both your prospects and your peers.
- Hire the professionals needed to launch your business correctly. That may mean a CPA, a website designer, a bookkeeper, a lawyer – hire the right people to get the right start.
- Secure some working capital and be real about how much it costs to do business.
- Continue learning. Be open to seminars, podcasts, or masterminds. Keep your brain geared towards “what ifs” and hungry for more information about your trade.
- Make sure everything that has your company name on it is consistent and appears exactly how you want your company to be represented. That includes social media, business cards, your website, and even your appearance. If you want to be a successful businesswoman, you need to look the part.
Image: [Katie Stoops]