Running a business and being your own boss sounds great but the road to success can be rocky. In the increasingly crowded world of business start-ups, how can budding entrepreneurs make themselves stand out from the crowd and achieve bottom line results?
Business and Economics alumnus, Tom Griffith is one half of the successful health food giant, Emma & Tom's. Tom identified a gap in the Australian market for healthy and tasty fruit smoothies with no artificial additives but needed a partner with science and foodie know-how to match his business acumen. He found his partner in childhood pal, Emma Welsh, an alumna of Agricultural Science at the University of Melbourne, and in 2004 they launched Emma & Tom's.
In little over 10 years the company has grown from strength to strength and now distributes their market leading Australian healthy drinks and snacks across Australia's top 2,000 cafés and delis, and in both Coles and Woolworths nationally. Here, Tom shares his top tips for budding entrepreneurs.
1. Start; don't wait for the perfect moment. Start!
You have 'permission'—you don't have to be an accountant or doctor. The freedom to do and to create what you want is amazing. It doesn't compare to being employed. In fact, if I knew how much fun it was I would have started earlier.
2. Be frugal, make more than you spend
It doesn't have to cost a lot. Boot strapping is good for you and you need to be prepared to do lots of it. Overnight success is rare; you need to expect this and budget for it. It's taken us 10 years and even now we still need the energy and drive we had on day one.
3. Get great people on board
The best resource for a start-up is a network of great people. They might be business partners with complementary skills and knowledge, like I found in Emma; or employees or investors. They may simply be people you encounter along the way. Take advice, daily, from anyone.
4. Re-assess your business model regularly
Now that you're in business, you have to understand that there are no boundaries. Re-evaluate your processes, operations and marketing regularly and take notice of what your competitors are doing to make sure you're always ahead of the game.
5. Your product or service must be fantastic
The best way to stand out from the crowd is to offer consumers something truly outstanding. Identify your unique selling point early on and stay true to that brand identity, even as your model adapts to marketplace demands.