These are the lessons I learnt as an entrepreneur.
Lesson 1: Don’t assume
When I selected the location for my 1st haircut shop, I thought that particular shopping mall should be able to bring me a decent number of customers as it has one of the highest footpaths. Thus, I invested my savings to start the business. Little did I realize that my 1st month’s revenue was barely just 200 head cuts, I couldn’t even afford to pay for my employees salaries let alone rental and other misc fees like utilities.
Lesson 2: Must be sales driven
I thought customers will patronize my shop when I opened the business and I was dead wrong. I learnt a painful lesson that I needed to provide marketing tools to attract customers to come into my shop. Opening a shop was just to inform or show to patrons that your shop was around. It required additional steps to attract them to enter and use your service.
Various marketing tools
There isn’t a single method or solution that will determine success or failure for every shop. In fact, I also realized that in different locations, my past successful method may not bring similar results to another shop. Thus, one needs to be equipped with certain knowledge to understand the local needs in order to determine which methods to devise. Below are some common methods, but it may not be viable to use all the methods.
a. Send brochures or pamphlets to letter box. (this method is the most costly and most ineffective).
b. Use promotions in buses.
c. Use human signboard to walk around.
d. Use social media like Facebook or Twitter to inform your friends.
e. Use Groupon or similar concepts to gain publicity but it can be costly.
Lesson 3: Don’t over delegate
I learnt from my lessons or coaching that I can delegate most of my business functions away, but there is something I learnt from Donald Trump’s bankruptcy. Never delegate your finances away so I always handle the major expenses while my managers will handle expenses under a certain amount but I need to keep watchful eyes over the finances.
Lesson 4: Engage a coach
I still remember when I almost give up this haircut business between the 3rd month to 5th month. My coach kept on encouraging me that my revenue was growing but it was relatively slow, but he told me that it will one day break even and I don’t have to worry about it eventually. So I stuck for another few months but I told him I will give up on 6th or 7th month as I could no longer handle finances on negative figures for so many months. It turned out that my coach was right that this business of mine turned out to be profitable eventually and the lesson I learnt is to engage a coach especially one who had gone through the stage so that he/she can share with you from the experiences.
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