New Year – New Ideas – New beginnings.
I often am asked if I had my time again what would I do differently in founding RedBalloon. Now we all wish we had hindsight, but the reality is that there are many painful lessons that just have to be learned, you can learn a lot from reading, or from other people and mentors, but there is nothing like learning from your own mistakes. No matter how costly.
If I was to start a new business where would I start. I know there are many people who have made the new years resolution…’this is the year that I will start my own show’. So as the ‘old wise’ one who has done it several times before what would I do if I was just about to throw in my corporate job and go it alone.
I know I did start my business to make sure that I was able to put weeties on the table. Being profitable and making money are clearly important. But quite frankly you can often make more money working for someone else. If money is the major motivator then I would seriously question if that is enough of a reason to start your own show.
I have to be passionate about whatever the business I am thinking of. I would have to clearly see how it makes a difference to others, how it improves the world we live in somehow. I would definitely look for something that is unique or at least innovative. I would not open a ‘me too’ business that does not have a clear differentiator.
I’d also get my story straight at the very beginning. Ask myself why I am doing this, what value do I add, what is the story? I didn’t realise when I named RedBalloon after the 1956 Oscar Award winning children’s film – the Red Balloon – how important that would be. How richly it would resonate with the sheer delight of children’s adventures. I did have the wish that one day when people saw any red balloon they would smile and remember their first RedBalloon Day. Which might have been very far fetched 7 years ago when I thought of it…. But it has kept me very focused on the purpose of why I went into business.
If you have passion, a clear purpose, and obviously are persistent it is far easier to engage people in what you are up to. Whether that be your, soon to be recruited employees, your suppliers or of course your customers.
Get your story straight and truly believe in what you are doing and why. There is no faking it until you make it.