OPEN YOUR MIND

I’ve had such a hectic week, as you might have guessed with the lack of blogposts for a couple of days (I try to blog everyday!). Suddenly now, after returning to work full swing, my schedule has been filling up with meetings, sample previews. Which is really awesome because I love being busy and I love my job. A lot is going on now, especially days closer with Lova Shoes Bazaars, new line on the shoe project, by creating our ready to wear collection, starting new small project called Rendang Sahara and I hope to be able to blog about it all when I find the time.

So anyway.

“It must be so glamorous having your own company etc etc etc.”

A misstatement I receive all the time. If only they were there when I am counting stocks on the floor, or going every day after Subuh prayers to the traditional market, or getting rejected at pitches, or not having enough sleep when the cashflow is not looking good a particular month. Bottom line is, owning a business is hard work and it is definitely not about glam. If you’re in it to be famous, it’s much better to go for acting or singing lessons.

Being a boss is rewarding, but over the months, I’ve identified some traits a ladyboss needs to have (from asking my mentors & my friends that owning a business or two)

1)   Far-sighted; it’s always good to work backwards. Set a goal (e.g. how much revenue you want to make that particular month, and then work towards how to get there e.g. how much stocks you need to sell etc etc)

2)   Fast; slow bosses are the worst! A boss needs to act fast, think sharp and be able to reason and make decisions quickly but intelligently. In most industries, things change so rapidly that if you don’t surf with the wave, you will be drowned and left behind.

3)   Kind but firm; a good boss knows that her biggest assets are her employees. Be kind, know that we’re all human beings with feelings, not robots. Especially dealing with Gen Y and soon Gen Z, scolding and screaming like our parents’ and grandparents’ time is not the way to go.

4)   Calm; I’ve got 15 different kinds of stress in my head at the moment, but on the outside, a smile is always there. A leader needs to stay calm when faced with challenges because if a leader is not cool, the whole team panics.

5)   Confident; you should be the No 1 fan of your company. If you yourself are not confident of your ideas and goals, and you doubt them, no one will buy them.

6)   Mature; always think before you do something, even something as trivial as posting a caption on Instagram (I’ve seen people lashing out at their staff or bosses – not cool), or something as big as solving political problems in the office. Always look from the outside in to see if you’re doing the right thing.

Easy to list them down, but reallyyyyy NOT easy to follow through. I have and still am making mistakes all the time, but after a while, I think experience will teach you A LOT. Running my small venture, Lova Shoes and Rendang Sahara the experiences are just overwhelming. Superrrr hard, but super rewarding if done right.

I see some people having these traits; the cool level-headed people who have good traits, the ones I would hire as managers in a heartbeat. They would be awesome entrepreneurs but the unfortunate part is that they don’t have good ideas. Everyone wants to start a business and everyone will think their idea is good, but sometimes you need to do more research to see if it’s what people want or if the margins even make sense or if there are too many competitors already doing the same thing. We often only read about success stories and we’re sure we’ll be the same, but we forget behind the 5 success stories, there are thousands who have failed too. So we have to be realistic.

Like me a few months back. I was tired from lugging around cooking oil (I know right) from the supermarket and thought hmmm we should do a cooking oil delivery service. And because cooking oils are something you buy repeatedly, I thought a subscription service would be a million dollar idea. The idea was great and we (me and my mother) don’t have to worry about not having oils during 4am cooking times for our Rendang project. Then we dug deeper and found that the margins for cooking oil is soooooo low (we’re talking cents here) and some supermarkets even sell them at a loss (due to price war with other supermarkets and because they can make back via other products) so how do you compete with that? Ok, with that few cents margin, plus delivery costs plus packaging costs plus marketing, storage and staff costs, we’d be bankrupt in no time. And we’ve had many more of these kinds of research on other businesses.

But my point is… We had a great idea, but we needed guidance and answers from people in the know to see if the it was a profitable business idea.

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