#womeninbusiness

The Boss Lady recipe for building a thriving business

2020-02-01T15:55:46+00:00 June 1st, 2019|Categories: Entrepreneur, startupgold, TheStartUpGold|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Boss Lady – Two words that define the successful savvy female leader. In business, a boss lady executes and delivers big ideas. This trending breed of entrepreneurs are your go to kind of people to get things done. Confident, knows her value, quick to learn and adapt, does what she says she would are only a few qualities of a boss lady.

Making your mark as an aspiring female entrepreneur in a growing world of business can be daunting. With lots of things to consider as you start your business, staying true to the things that matter can be a challenge. Here is a recipe you can live by to remain focused as you work your way to building a successful business.

#1 Work on building a business you can take to the bank

Herein these eleven words lies a tonne of effort that justifies the reason your business exists. Unless your goal is to run a non-profit business, you need a way to monetise whatever it is your business is about. Say for instance, you have a huge social media following but not converting this to sales of some type either through paid ads, affiliate marketing or promoting a paid service or product you aren’t quite scratching that boss lady surface yet. Think of ways to monetise your skills, talents or ability to solve a problem.

“Sales are incredibly important because that’s what really makes or breaks a business

Ade HASSAN
FOUnDER NUBIAN SKIN

#2 Find and know your ideal customer

Marketing your service or product to everyone, promoting your content without knowing who your target audience is like playing a game of tag with blinders on. You are feeling around hoping to catch someone with no clear direction of where everyone is. When you know who your ideal audience and customer is, then you can start to create content or products that delight them. You keep their attention focused on what you can do for them. This is a great way to build loyalty and a way to grow your business.

#3 Confidence, Optimism and Resilience

Wear it, feel it, own it…. there is just no other way to it. If you are not confident of your ability to deliver why should others be? If you are scared to market your business and sell, do not sell yet. Go back to learning more about your offering, fix any gaps before going back into the market. When you can stand 100% by what you offer you will feel more confident of your ability to deliver.

Optimism will get you through tough times that will come. Maintaining a positive mindset that your business will thrive regardless of internal or external challenges is a must have for you as a business leader.

Below is a video from Refinery29 I quite enjoyed on 5 women entrepreneurs who share their secret to success.

The saying that tough times don’t last but tough people do, couldn’t be more true. A mix of confidence, optimism and resilience will keep you on top where other business leaders have failed.

#4 A daily routine

Many successful entrepreneurs practice a daily routine. It does not necessarily have to be a series of back to back activities but something you live by to improve yourself and ability daily. It is best not to copy someone else’s routine but find one that is meaningful and works for you so you can sustain it.

#5 A support network

No-one builds a business alone. A support network in the people around you within and outside your business circle can be one of the most powerful tools for your business growth. Most women juggle a number of hats in between work and life. A support network can be a good outlet to help find a balance. The online world has a growing community of support networks for busy women in business, one of which is our facebook group at The Startup Gold

#6 Good business and finance acumen

We’ve discussed the idea of building a business you can take to the bank and targeting your ideal customer. There are other skills essential to running a successful business. You do not have to be an expert in all and can hire the support you need. There are however areas you need to be comfortable with. Some of which include understanding business contracts, cash flow management, marketing, leadership, presentation and communication skills.

#7 Self love and care

I use almost every opportunity I get to remind entrepreneurs of the need to properly manage their health and well being. Why is this important? The mind is a space where the entrepreneur works a lot. Out of it will flow ideas for project plans, creativity and decision making. Keeping the mind flourishing requires self care. Resting regularly, exercise and a good diet are all part of this. A lot of people take this for granted and almost always at some point will reach their breaking point. For a business to thrive it needs a leader that is constant in her ability to work and deliver. Maintaining proper care for health and well being is essential.

Hope you enjoyed reading and will try some if not all of these. Can you add anything else to spice up the recipe? Share them in the comments.

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5 things to do when bootstrapping your Startup

2020-02-01T15:46:08+00:00 April 30th, 2019|Categories: Entrepreneur, startupgold, TheStartUpGold|Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Pitch decks, Venture Capitalists, Angel Investors are almost synonymous with Startups today. Now these are great ways to get funds but when you are starting your business, you probably do not need half a million pounds right away to grow. You may find that through self funding you can raise a good portion of the money you need to setup and get your first clients through the door.

Bootstrapping a startup business is the concept of using existing resources, what is already have in hand, to achieve a goal.

Is it easy? no it is not, particularly if you don’t have a regular source of income.

A lot of new business owners are already rockstars at doing the most with minimal resources (hands up mums in the house) The same applies when starting up your business. Don’t go pitching to investors just yet or procrastinate on starting your business because you have written up a startup valuation that seems out of reach.

Try these bootstrapping tips first.

Cut back on splurging

I guess this goes without saying. If you need the money then cut back on spend. That Fendi Baguette, or pair of Balmain boots will have to wait.

Build a business portfolio you can take to the bank first then you can splurge on luxuries later.

As you start to build the business keep an eye on expenses.

Surround yourself with inspiring and driven people

Ever felt like you needed some shopping therapy and then your girlfriend comes round to remind you – You Only Live Once? So you hit the stores and head into Soho for dinner, willing your savings goal to come back. Sadly a vision of Shrimp and Lobster with spicy lemon dressing for dinner at Nobu’s wins.

Ditch your goal-less friends while you bootstrap to grow your business. Find yourself some new friends that will keep you motivated.

Always go for the Best and Final Offer

Corporate giants do this stuff all the time.

When making a purchase to start your business, ask the seller for their best and final offer before placing an order. Do the same with other sellers then go for the most competitive price.

In other words, haggle like your life depends on it (professionally of course) If procurement teams at large corporates do this to save business costs, how much more your humble self? There is no shame in negotiating. Make your money work for you as you build your business.

One thing to be mindful of though is not to compromise quality for cost. Verify the quality of what the seller is offering before committing to the sale.

Use your vision board

Have a vision of what you want to achieve. If you don’t have a board that’s pinned up on your wall, keep a mental visual of what success feels like. Use this as your motivation when you feel like giving up.

Keep your big vision in mind. Fix your eyes on the prize – Always.

Get some assistance

Perhaps bank of mum and dad might be generous, or you have friends who believe in your idea and can support. Crowdfunding might be another way to go. Think of some alternative sources of raising money and use as many channels as you have available to you within your inner circle to secure your business funds.

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Business Feature – Ade Hassan of Nubian Skin

2020-02-01T15:17:52+00:00 March 7th, 2019|Categories: Entrepreneur, startupgold, TheStartUpGold|Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

I am not entirely sure where to start with this post.

I could start by describing the excitement when  I finally bought hosiery in my skin tone. I could start by describing how inspiring it is seeing a woman of colour redefine the marketplace in an industry. Maybe I should begin by describing the thrill when I learnt Ade was going to share some business insights with me…. I was so chuffed.

I’ll just get right to it.

Ade Hassan, a member of the order of the British Empire, Fashion Entrepreneur of the year and UKs favourite British designer of the year award winner is the founder at Nubian Skin, a company with a carefully edited collection of Lingerie and hosiery providing the essential underwear needs of women of colour. Available at Nordstrom, House of Fraser, Bravissimo and other big brand stockists in the UK and Internationally. Nubian Skin has gone from strength to strength since it officially launched in 2014 and has received interest from celebrities like Beyonce, Thandie Newton and Beverly Knight.

On her immediate thoughts when her first photoshoot for Nubian Skin went viral – “I was shocked. I didn’t fully understand how it all worked because I wasn’t big on social media. At the time, Nubian Skin had a Tumblr and an Instagram page that had about fifty followers from random images. It was our first product photo. I didn’t think anything of putting up the image of the four girls wearing our product. I actually went on holiday directly after but my phone kept buzzing. I was shocked and amazed just to get one hundred followers. By the end of the week, we had a thousand followers. I started to feel anxious because I didn’t really understand what was happening. At the end of four weeks, we reached twenty thousand followers and the press started picking it up. Kerry Washington retweeted a post that Self Magazine had done on us and we were on DailyMail. And, all of a sudden, it was everywhere. And it was insane because we didn’t have products to sell yet. We didn’t even have a proper website up”

“My name is Ade Hassan and I’m the founder of Nubian Skin. I was born in the UK, but my family is Nigerian.  I grew up all over the world, in the UK, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and the US. After I finished my masters I ended up in Banking, which was something I had been interested in doing, but ultimately, I knew that I wanted to be an entrepreneur.  Both my parents are entrepreneurs, so I guess it’s in my blood. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do, but I’ve always had an affinity for fashion”

TSG: When you founded Nubian Skin, you were addressing a gap in the market for women of colour. How did you get past any reservations or concerns you had as to whether your idea would become successful? What sort of research did you do and what support did you have?

Ade: I did a lot of research and discovered that what I was looking for simply wasn’t available. This was a great starting point that validated my idea. After that I did a lot of testing and research amongst my friends and family. I also did a lot of research at make up counters that catered to women of colour to find out the most popular hues. Once I had that information, it was a huge process of refining these colours with the factories.  I had no idea how to find a manufacturer or how to break into the industry, so I hired a consultant who introduced me to tradeshows which was incredibly helpful.

TSG: What are the key areas you focus on in your business, in other words when you review your business metrics what areas are you concentrating on first before others?

Ade: Sales are incredibly important because that’s what really makes or breaks a business. We also take a look at our social media metrics, customer data and google analytics to get an idea of who our customers are, their behaviour and location etc. Another important area of focus is cost – it’s important to repeatedly analyse what you are paying for/whether it’s necessary/where it’s possible to reduce cost, because if there is a problem, you want to fix it immediately.

TSG: During your TEDx talk on “The reality of reaching your goal” you mentioned bored, frustrated and annoyed as really good motivators when you’re trying to figure out what to do next, a lot of women can relate to this, the question is when they figure out what to solve for, what do they do next?

Ade: For me it was figuring out what my end goal was (launching my e-commerce website) and then plotting backwards to where I was and figuring out every single step that was needed to get me to my goal.  Then it was a matter of putting one foot in front of another one step at a time.

TSG: You’ve talked about switching jobs when you figured out your business idea and moving into equity finance in the corporate world because you needed to save a lot of money. In a time where women aren’t getting a lot from venture capitalists, is bootstrapping the way to go and a more effective option for female entrepreneurs?

Ade: I moved from consulting into working for a private equity placement agent, which I really enjoyed and it enabled me to save a good amount. Bootstrapping worked for me, but it has its pros and cons.  I do think fundraising is also a very good option, and I think it’s important for women to keep seeking finance from angels and ventures because there are so many amazing ideas out there that are deserving of finance.

TSG: Obtaining Trademarks and Copyrights are essential to protecting your brand , in your experience at what point will you advise entrepreneurs to consider this and make it a top priority above everything else they must execute to scale their business?

Ade: It’s one of the first things you should do!

TSG: On manufacturing and bringing your product to life what advise will you give entrepreneurs when sourcing manufacturers and vendors for a product?

Ade: Figure out what is going to work for you.Do you need to do a smaller production run (which will be more expensive) or are you producing large quantities (which may be cheaper)? Find a vendor or manufacturer who you have good communication with because communication is key.  Finally, do your research, visit the factory to make sure it’s being produced in an ethical way.

 TSG: Nubian Skin is stocked in Europe, Africa, the US and Caribbean, what challenges have you had operating in International markets and how have you overcome them?

Ade: Communication and figuring out logistics are important.  Some of it is trial and error, it’s just a matter of refining your methods and figuring out what works.

TSG: Looking back on your journey as an entrepreneur, what advice would you give to women starting their business journey today?

Ade: If you’ve got an idea you’d like to bring to life, it’s really important to research your idea to make sure that whatever it is, it’s valid. Make sure you really believe in the idea especially if you’re working in another job. If you’re up at 4:00 a.m. or 2:00 a.m. working on this, then you want to believe in it. You also need to be willing to work really hard. Everybody who is going to start something anticipates that it’s going to be difficult, and that it’s going to be hard, but it will be so much more difficult and so much harder than you can prepare yourself for. And also – have faith in yourself. If you don’t believe in yourself, then who will?

TSG: There are so many products and services out there today, the internet has made it easy for everyone to start a business, what marketing advise will you give to small business owners so they can rise above the crowd?

Ade: I would say that good imagery is key – make sure your photos stand out and are of the highest quality. There’s nothing worse than visiting a website with grainy, low-res images. I would also say it’s important to do your research, make sure your idea is valid and be prepared to work really hard!

Beyonce and her Formation World Tour dancers in undergarments made by Nubian Skin

TSG: Finally on collaborations and Partnerships, how has this helped your business and what advice can you share with budding female entrepreneurs looking to engage in partnerships that can help grow their business?

Ade: We occasionally collaborate with influencers and bloggers to create content. It’s really important that the people we work with appreciate our ethos and that the partnerships are as organic as possible. I would say that collaborations and partnerships can be a great way to widen your audience, but make sure that you also think about return on investment and whether the money you spend is going to be worthwhile.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Follow Ade Hassan of nubianskin on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter @nubianskin

To see more of Nubian Skin and place an order visit the Nubian Skin Website

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