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y’s answer to the question, “What should budding entrepreneurs know about building a business?” is written by Kelsey Doorey, founder and CEO of Vow to Be Chic.
Perseverance will be your secret weapon. It’s tough to measure how you stack up on that front, but one litmus test I give myself is measuring how resilient I am when I face rejection.
Some entrepreneurs fail to succeed because they can’t handle hearing the word, “no.” When I was starting Vow To Be Chic, I heard “no” many times, but I never let that stop me from asking for what I needed to push the business to the next level. I was confident in the potential of my concept; just because someone else didn’t understand my business didn’t mean I was going to let that dilute my determination.
In the beginning when I started my company in 2015, signing on major designers was a particular challenge because the concept of renting a designer bridesmaid dress online was almost unheard of. The entire bridal industry operated mostly offline. Our number one designer was hesitant when she first heard about our business, but I was confident that women would want to rent for this special occasion because it would save them time and money. I met with her every few months for two years, showing her our revenue growth, website build, and designer roster until she decided to sign on.
If you have a truly unique business, it’s inherently difficult to solve problems because they've never been faced before and you won't be able to find the answer on Google. The path of an entrepreneur is paved with highs and lows. The only thing that’s certain is that you’ll face failures (as well as successes). How you bounce back will truly define the future of your business. Be cognizant of your strengths and weaknesses.
When I was just starting my business, I knew that there were some important areas in which I would need help — it’s important not to waste time trying to do it all. For example, if you need help with accounting early on, hire an accountant who is flexible and willing to work on an hourly basis so you’re only paying for what you really need.
Hiring passionate people is also a must - they should believe in the concept and have a great attitude. It’s also vital that the CEO be willing to take out the trash, or go on a coffee run. No task is too small. One of our very first employees had just received her MBA and then spent her first weeks building out our inventory system, while simultaneously juggling administrative tasks, such as hand-packing each customer's shipment and running back and forth to the UPS store.
It’s people like that who allow a company to thrive on a startup budget in the beginning, before having the resources to hire a larger staff. I’m forever grateful for people like that.
Remember to have a reliable stress reliever. When you’re an entrepreneur, your business will become your whole life, so it’s important to schedule in some down-time. Time away from digital devices revitalizes you and ultimately makes you more effective. I love kite-surfing on the weekends because I can’t have my phone on me when I’m out on the water, so I can disconnect fully. I also have a dog who I bring to the office with me. He always makes me smile and he serves as a reminder to take a break and relax a bit throughout the day.