Looking to make the small business leap? Find out how from someone who knows.
What makes an idea become real, whole, or a reality? What do you need, want, or must have for it to become realized? For Tasha Burton it was a few amazing tips that are relatable and achievable. Burton’s brand, Belle Butters, started before she even realized that she needed it. She returned natural after a skin allergy mysteriously developed after years of relaxing her hair. She is not positive it was the chemical relaxers but they were doing her no favors, so back in 2008 she went natural and was on the hunt for products for her tresses.
Back then many products that catered to her tightly-coiled and dry tresses were not readily available, and the ones that were around were being bombarded with orders. That made the wait time anywhere from a week to a month. She knew there had to be something better so she frequented local hair events, came across natural oils and butters and decided to make her own creations for her hair. After getting many compliments on her hair and its softness she would try and explain what she was using, but they were not interested in the method, they just wanted the end result! She had her first customers and the rest is history. Here are a few of her tips on what she feels is necessary for anyone wanting to take the small business leap.
Step out of your comfort zone
If you do not believe enough in your product to promote it like crazy, no one else will either. She talks about her “backpack hustle” when she would carry samples of her butters in Ziploc bags with her business cards attached everywhere and pass them out to the women. She is a natural introvert but when it came to promoting her product she became that much needed extrovert to talk up her product and gain exposure. She used social media (mostly Twitter) and talked about what her products can do and guess what? People began to listen.
Just sitting around waiting for the big discovery will get you nowhere quick so step outside of your comfort zone and market your idea, product or service like it is the best thing since sliced bread because if you do not believe it is, no one will.
Don’t wait for perfection
Burton put all her effort, energy, and focus on the product at hand and not on the packaging. It was almost two years before she even had a logo. Why? Because the product was the main focus. Her first labels were regular address labels and she would hand-write what it was. It’s important to do what works for you. Always concentrate on the product or service more than the appearance because a crappy product in a cute package is still a crappy product. You can always worry about packaging later so take care of what is important first.
Never wait for the perfect time as nothing is perfect. You strive for creating a wonderful product and work hard on it. Basically just do it.
Research ingredients, suppliers of ingredients, how to create your product, and how you will make it happen. No one says you have to spend two years creating it, as Burton started her business in under a month, but figure out what you are doing, how you will do it, what you need, and make the time to do it. You will be working hard, so if this is not a serious venture do not waste your time. She is not trying to scare anyone off but research is key to ensuring you know what you are doing and what to expect as hurdles will arise. Ask anyone in business about how many suppliers he or she went through before they came across that perfect one. All aspects of the business requires extensive research from ingredient sourcing to packaging to promoting.
You need patience and persistence to ensure you are using the best ingredients, creating the best product and promoting the best way to get your product in the hands of your customers.
Separate yourself from others
Burton has been doing this long enough to know that fads come and go. Everyone may be on the argan oil bandwagon but next month it may be carrot oil. Stay with what works for you and your products. Burton looks for quality oils that will benefit her customers over what may be getting all the press because she knows if her product works then she is doing right by her customers. Jumping on the bandwagon with every fleeting fad will leave you tired and running around aimlessly. Stick with what works and will be useful to the customers. In heavily saturated markets, gimmicks can only go so far but amazing quality products will always be in demand.
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Have you thought about selling your kitchen concoctions?