Tuesday, 1 October 2013

It's Business Baby - Rip up the Business Plan!


You know how it always seems like when you think about your school peers, it's always those kids that never seemed especially exceptional at anything that are now the CEO of the next big internet company or made their first mill' from the back room in their parents house? I was chatting to Kat the other day about the future and both our plans for world domination our respective businesses when she said "well, everything that has gone well for me seems to have been a bit of a fluke, so I guess we'll see where that goes!"

And actually, it totally reiterated a point I've been thinking about a lot recently - all the successful people I know never set out to be where they are today. Kat set up Rock n Roll Bride because she was disillusioned with what traditional bridal media was offering when she was planning her own wedding. Lisa Devlin started off life as a music photographer, before moving over to award winning wedding photography and teaching some 10 years ago. Tatty Devine started life on a tiny Portobello Market stall selling leather cuffs. And it's not that the aforementioned, and countless other pioneers in their fields, have had luck on their side or a trust fund to get them going. It's because they tore up the traditional business plan and forged their own path.

I've told the story of Crown and Glory's humble beginnings many times over. Straight out of uni, no substantial savings, no written business plan but plenty of dreams. Dreams of not working a 9-5. Of not being stuck behind a desk in a windowless office. Of stitching together my passions of fashion, photography, graphics and social media. To create a satisfying life. Did I plan to find a niche in creating bespoke, quirky bridal hairpieces and tear up with joy every time a bride sent me through a thankyou card? That I'd sit front row at fashion week with New York's next top models sashaying down the catwalk in Crown and Glory? To have stockists in over 10 countries across the globe? That I'd create a career not just for me, but my best friend and more? Every single opportunity that has been a game changer in my business has happened because I've had the guts to say "ok, why not?"

So rip up your traditional, week-by-week business plan. Set yourself 'blue sky' dreams, like "I want to own a million pound design studio" or "I want to provide a home for myself and my cats" or "I want to travel the world". Write them down, pin them by your desk, your mirror, wherever you'll see them often. Sure, figure out some paths you could take to make these dreams be a reality. "I'll get 50 design clients by the end of 2014". "I need to turnover £50k to get a deposit". "I'll establish a global workshop". But more importantly, be open to opportunities that come your way. Say yes. Not to everything, but to the things that could get you closer to those goals. Be nice. Not overly nice - it comes across as creepy. Be memorable. Send thankyou cards when someone helps you out. Send a postcard because you think someone is ace. Be useful. Help out a PR request. Give some advice and expect nothing on return. Keep some free time to grasp opportunities. Done is better than perfect; don't turn down stuff because of your fears. Work hard. Take risks. Fail quickly. Move on.

Photography: 'Made in China' by Shxpir for Harper's Bazaar via Fashion Gone Rogue, June 2013

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