In an interview with Kelly Burton, CEO and founder of Bodyology, on my biz1190 radio show, Kelly shared important steps an entrepreneur should consider as you take the plunge and dive into a new start-up business.
1. Are you solving a personal problem or a universal one?
Many businesses start because someone had a problem they wanted to solve for themselves.
But to be successful, you need to ask yourself - "Am I the only one with this problem or are there many more who could benefit from my solution?" You may very well discover a niche that is not being serviced
Bodyology began because Kelly couldn't find a sweat-resistant undershirt to wear with her professional clothing. Before deciding this was a business, she did research to find out if this was a common issue.
What she found is that her problem was one experienced by a large universe of women - those who are extremely fit, have thyroid conditions or are in the menopausal stages of their lives, for example. All have body-regulation issues that can cause uncontrollable perspiration that deodorant alone can't mask.
When she couldn't find viable options to choose from for solving this problem, she designed a base-line clothing apparel company that uses wicking technology to keep clothing dry and free of sweat-stains, odor and moisture.
2. Don't be resistant to social media.
Kelly believes her age makes her more resistant to social media. Simply put, social media wasn't in her wheelhouse and she wasn't comfortable using it.
She soon realized that marketing is key to any business and critical when you're trying to educate people about an entirely new business. She had to embrace SEO, blogging and key platforms like Facebook and Twitter to get the word out.
Kelly has definitely come full circle, as I watched her send out Periscope videos during the radio interview.
3. Use consultants with flexible contracts while teambuilding.
When I asked her how she overcame her biggest obstacle, she replied- "Outsourcing."
Maybe you're a lone wolf trying to do everything yourself. It's difficult to personally handle all the demands and finding perfect employees within your budget can seem impossible. To keep scalability in place, outsourcing is a great option, but offer flexible contracts to prospective contractors or employees. You can try them out to see if it works for both of you. If after a few weeks it isn't working, then transition and move on.
Kelly's advice, "Kill it quickly" if it isn't working so it frees you up to find someone else. One reward of building your team this way is your part timer might be the ideal candidate to hire full time as your company and needs grow.
4. Get feedback and incorporate it.
Success doesn't happen overnight. The most reliable way to build your business is by determining what your customers want and then delivering it. How do you know what they want?
Kelly used tweets, personal interviews, emails, testimonials and her customer service representatives to determine what Bodyology consumers wanted. She also relies on a small advisory board that supplies her with external stimuli. By gathering responses from different sources she can fuse it all together and get the best results.
5. Enjoy the ride!
Entrepreneurs must realize the destination isn't what's most important.
Kelly compares the journey to maneuvering a sailboat. If the wind shifts or the waves toss you in another direction, you have to row along with it. Sometimes there are detours and side roads you take that you didn't necessarily plan for. The important thing is getting there - so have fun.