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Izzy Melody's top 5 tips for starting a business in Good Housekeeping magazine
By Alissa Koopal on Jan 27, 2015 at 12:52 PM

Our founder, Alissa Koopal was asked for her top 5 tips on "how to get your business of the ground" by Good Housekeeping magazine. Here she shares her tips and you can read the full story behind her tips as well!

 

http://www.goodhousekeeping.co.uk/money/money-and-work/starting-your-own-business-tips

 

Below you can read the full blog post on Alissa's top tips:

Research - Everything- Forever-!!  

It sounds so boringly obvious (and sorry for starting you off on this one!), but you would be surprised how many budding entrepreneurs don't put much effort into this this part. (or don't bother at all!)

Yes, your idea is amazing, new, exciting and you are going to make this THE next best thing and therefore this boring bit of web surfing, speaking to people who might not share the above thought with you (and I dont mean asking only friends and family as they are made to be biased!), bumping into things you 'already kinda knew' and time *LOTS of time* spend might not seem like the most exciting part of your starting journey; if anything, it might make you feel a bit down from the excitement you initially felt, but it is so, SO important..!

 You might actually learn something!

You might pick something up in regards to your specific industry, how it works, how do they buy, sell, what are they (honestly!) looking for, how long does it take (I thought my main shops would order within months, well they actually turned out to buy a year ahead and pay 3 months later.. Oops, yeah, bye bye cashflow!) of course, alot will be learned in regards to this whilst 'on the go', but the more you know, the better you are prepared- aka more professional-  and you don't sit in a meeting with a major retailer and tell them you opted for this packaging 'because you thought it was pretty' and realise that there is no way they could stock this on shelf as it would be full after 2 packs :/ (Yes, I managed to save the day, but it took a while!)

You might even figure out a way to make your product or service even better! (as if that was possible, it was totally right to begin with.. right?), to add (another) UPS to it, to slightly change it to suit what you have found out from market research, you might even already start to see ways to evolve for the future, new lines, new goals, new ways to try (see this business plan shaping up already?)

Trust me, I still do it as much as I can, we need to always stay on top of everything that goes on in our little world. You start building that all important network around you already and will already start to figure out 'who is who'. - When you start to need money for your business, may it be a loan, investment or through another route- THIS is one of the main things you will be questioned on- 'WHY did you do XXX', 'WHY do you think XXX is the right choice', WHY, Why and Why again, you need to be able to build everything you say up with proof or ways you have calculated a number, etc!

 

Network - Talk to everyone and anyone, its fun!

As daunting as it may seem for some people (me included, I still don't like - in my head 'interfering-' into a group of people at an event and just start shouting out my name and THIS is what I do..) however, everyone feels a little bit nervous doing this, so don't be so tough on yourself, you have alot to be proud to share. Tell your story.

Remember also, networking is not just done at special events, it is people you meet on an every day basis, always make the right impression, whether it the big boss of a company you want to impress or your neighbours gardener- who is to say his sister is not the CEO of that company you are trying to impress?.. Get your name out there and tell the world how amazing you and your business are! Speak to people, chat to them, it does not always have to be business related. And when you start to know each other you will quickly see how you are able to collaborate and help each other one way or another. It's the old saying- people buy or people (and help people they like) & it could not be more true.

Build relationships, spend time on building trust and you will see magic happen. 

 

 Surround yourself with Wise Owls

I stole this line from a brilliant large company founder and inspirational speaker by the way (sorry!) But it is SO true and well said!- Take advise. Stop being stubborn (one of my best traits) and listen.

Following the lovely and large network you have build up as above, you will start to meet a lot of people that 'have been there'. Yes, a lot of their journey will and would have been very different from yours but some things remain the same, so listen to them, listen to how they have made it or how they have failed and take it all in (ofcourse, all in good measures, do not forget that fabulous intuition you have got yourself!!).

Ask questions, there really is no stupid questions (I should know) as we are all learning along the way, still on a daily basis. There is so much help and support out there now, the government and many independent organisations have provided a lot of amazing courses (most of them free!), mentors and points of advice and help.. So please take it! You have nothing to loose and everything to gain! Learned nothing of it? Maybe a bit of time gone, but you might have learned all kinds from it, maybe get a mentor from it, maybe build your network further, maybe find a way to fast forward your business!

The help is there, all you have to do is ask. I have well and truly surrounded myself with wise owls through my network that I can continuously fall back on for advice and support. How amazing is that feeling! A support system is so incredibly valuable, I can not even begin to describe!

 

Learn to Forgive yourself

Not as easy as it sounds, trust me.

Everything is riding on YOU. YOU are the one making decisions, no matter how many people might advise you, you are ultimately 'the one'. Sounds terrifying when you look at it doesn't it? However, don't (ever!) let it be.

Not everything is going to go smooth sailing, you will probably not earn as much as you hoped (if anything at all) in the beginning and things will go wrong, but don't we learn from our mistakes? And does that mean that we can't be proud of all the other stuff we have achieved alongside it? -Forgive yourself, learn from it and move on- you have a business to run.

Have fun

Strangely, it is the main thing people seem to forget! Hang on there, you started this because you had all these beautiful dreams and goals and you were going to be o-so happy!

Yes, it is hard work, good bye social life, no money in the bank in the beginning and all that stuff, but look at what you are doing here! You are creating something, something that is yours, something unique and something to be proud of!

Look at all the hard work you have done and look at the amazing opportunities and massive milestones  you have achieved or are working on (How ever big or small they may seem to others, everything is exciting! Dont these people realise how much blood, sweat and tears this one milestone has took!) Now that should count for something!

Enjoy what you are doing, be passionate, be proud, be happy and don't forget to have fun whilst taking over the world!

 

Xxx Alissa