GET OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE

Being in business for more than 1 year now has made me realize how important funding is to grow your business to another level. Big companies start their businesses with millions of bucks in their pockets just ready to be splurged on marketing and all, but that’s not how Lova Shoes started. We started with nowhere close to a million and as thankful as we are with what we have now, we know the growth would’ve been a lot faster had we gotten bigger funds from investors.

Truth be told, we had it quite easy with good response from Indonesians, Malaysians and the social media because even with a relatively small capital we managed to launched a startup company; custom-made women and men shoes retailer. But we noticed the sales reached some sort of a plateau and we were making a profit but we had nothing left for marketing. We knew we need money to grow.

One of the great things about Lova Shoes as a business is that it hasn’t required a lot of capital. The big capital requirements for traditional retailers are store setup costs and capital required to buy stock, neither of which we require.

That said, I’ve got some interesting choices moving forward, some of which may require capital.

1. We can grow via the organic path. We focus on online retail, do some offline retail events and only invest in further offline activities from our profits.
2. In addition to online retail, we can invest more heavily in offline retail opportunities whether that be through in-store displays owned by others, such as our experiment with some of boutiques, or even opening our own stores. Either of these could require a capital investment beyond my mean as a founder, so I’m going to start having conversations and learning more about the venture capital industry in case I choose to go down this path.

The easiest option would be to ask for a loan from my family & friends but I want something more than just money. I want a strategic partnership with an investor who isn’t just giving out millions, but can offer us something more than that e.g. marketing opportunities, technical know-how, manpower, expertise, network overseas… anything that can help grow Lova Shoes to greater heights.

Basically, to grow a company, what you need is: investors.

I met with a lot of local fashion brands that have crazy talents, but because of the limited resources, their reach and their production are not as good as it could be.

Clearly there are significant pros and cons to taking on investors. I’d love to have the capital to grow quickly, and there are some great opportunities to do that in the offline space. And having experienced investors involved in my business would mean I’d learn a lot and get some great advice. However at the same time I like the level of control I have over the direction of the business at the moment – I’m able to experiment and learn the best way forward without the time pressure of an investor who wants to exit at some point in the future. And going down the path of taking on investors would be a time consuming process.

If you’ve had any experience with angel investors or the venture capital industry I’d love to hear your thoughts on how you think I should proceed.

IMG_20150930_022654

When I think of my business presentation ideas.

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