Courtesy navigation

Blog posts tagged Inafishbowl.com

What’s your BHAG?

January 19, 2011 by www.inafishbowl.com

Recently, I discovered the meaning of a ‘BHAG’, it’s big, hairy, audacious goal. Immediately, I loved the idea of setting some out-of-reach challenges that would push my comfort zone. I came up with the following:

1 Win an award

Winning an award last year really gave me a huge confidence boost, led to the start of some interesting PR and gave my product the credibility it needed to move forward. Already I have pinpointed three awards to apply for this month alone. It is time-consuming and competitive, but the process of completing the applications enables you to refresh in your mind what your business is all about, while being shortlisted is great recognition. However, my BHAG is to win!

2 Get a celebrity quote for my business – Mama Jewels

Having been in contact with the PR people for both Sara Cox and Denise van Outen, I sent them photos of the products I’d like to send and then sent both of them a gift from Mama Jewels hoping for a little recognition. At the time they both had very young children and seemed to be the ideal people. I appreciate that this is a tricky one, particularly with jewellery, because everybody has such personal and different taste and perhaps what I thought they might like, may be completely wrong.

I had a very lovely thank you note on Twitter (two in fact) from Denise Van Outen, but nothing from Sara Cox (I guess she didn’t like my choice). I’d be interested to hear how your business was able to get a celebrity quote…

3 Become a supplier to a large recognised store

Possibly Mothercare, NCT online or JoJo Maman Bebe. I’ve been taking small steps and building up credibility, now I have people approaching me to become stockists, but so far I haven’t approached the larger stores. This year is the year I want to start working with at least one of them.

Last year was all about taking small, manageable steps, establishing good relationships with suppliers, finding out which designs sell and which don’t, working with small retailers, building my website, trying out fairs and shows and generally trying to create an income stream and gain recognition.

This year I’m determined to see Mama Jewels in larger shops, with more recognised retailers and move a step closer to becoming a recognised brand.

What BHAGs have you set for this year? 

Amanda Waring, Mama Jewels

You can find out more about Amanda on the interactive business website www.inafishbowl.com

startupdonutbannerbutton728x90

A challenging first six months in business

November 29, 2010 by www.inafishbowl.com

My jewellery-making business, Mama Jewels, is nearing the end of its first sixth month of trading, so I thought I’d share an update on our progress so far.

This week my youngest son had his first birthday and I had my first day off Twitter, Facebook and my laptop for as long as I can remember. It felt good to leave my iPhone in the drawer and go out for the day. He was three-months-old when I decided to start Mama Jewels and both my sons are very much part of the journey. I’m hoping to have them trained in jewellery-making very soon!

Very good things are happening all the time, but I am finding myself in a constant juggling act, having to work some very late nights and early mornings to keep up. Sales are increasing, but they’re still not at the levels I wanted at this stage. I keep hoping this will eventually improve.

Visits and online sales are rising steadily after the launch of our new website, which took three (very long) months to develop and even then it didn’t launch on the date planned or the revised date. If you’re planning to launch a new website, build in plenty of spare time, especially for setting up payment accounts, which took longer than I’d expected.

Mama Jewels is currently stocking in 11 online boutiques, which is steadily increasing as we follow up new leads each day. We also have three independent baby shops stocking our products offline. This number is still low, because my ability to make visits is very limited because of my childcare commitments. Over the next couple of weeks I’ve temporarily arranged some extra childcare so I can make more sales visits.

We’ve plenty of events planned coming up to Christmas, including home parties, markets and fairs in targeted areas. We’re starting to get approached by mum and toddler groups to exhibit directly, so word is getting out there, which is great.

I am currently working on improving my Ebay shop, too, which has proved very successful so far and I have approached a friend who is an expert on selling via Amazon.

Progress is good, with daily glimpses of new opportunities. Generally, consumers are feeling the pinch and they’re more cautious than ever. Hopefully, the upcoming season will give us that extra little boost and encourage shop owners to trial my products in a few more retail outlets before Christmas. We’ll see.

Amanda Waring, Mama Jewels

You can find out more about Amanda on the interactive business website www.inafishbowl.com

startupdonutbannerbutton728x90

I have become (un)comfortably numb

August 31, 2010 by www.inafishbowl.com

I enjoyed reading the article written by Marty Zwilling about the personality traits of an entrepreneur.

In his article, he describes the personality of the entrepreneur to be:

  • visionary
  • creative AND logical
  • energised by risk
  • eager to listen to the input of others
  • motivated
  • Jack of all trades
  • and most important of all, enjoying the journey.

I enjoyed the article because I can see that I have all of these. I have a strong vision of what my sector can be in years to come and I would love to be an important player within it.

I am eager to listen to the input of others, and inafishbowl.com has been an amazing experience. I have had some really useful advice from experts on the expert panel, and more recently from Imran Hakim and Iain Scott whose blogs reassure me that I was right to postpone the launch of Rico Mexican Kitchen in a major supermarket chain – thanks guys! I’ve also learned so much from my fellow Fishbowlers and I’m quietly jealous (in the best possible way, of course!) of Owain and Dom’s partnership, and that they can rely on each other to share the tasks.

However, if I’m honest, I’m feeling kind of numb and somehow not enjoying the journey as much just at this point. I have had some highs, but the low of finding that I have to be on such very tight budget is getting me down. Or maybe it’s simply because I’m tired? Maybe I just need a few days off.

Well, I had to be up today at 3:30 so I could greet the distributor who was taking my very first orders of our brand new product, TAMALES to some really funky restaurants in London. I should be really excited, I know it’s a day I will remember in years to come, but instead, I feel numb. I just keep saying to myself that I need to be patient, as success will come with perseverance, resilience, and not before a long list of failures which one learns from. I’m in it for the long haul!

You can find out more about Marcela on the interactive business website www.inafishbowl.com

startupdonutbannerbutton728x90

Taking Mexican food to the masses

August 09, 2010 by www.inafishbowl.com

I have heard time and again that a business like mine needs a face. Well, the worrying thing is...whose face would it be? I guess it would have to be mine!

Now that I’m breaking even and orders are steadily increasing, I need to look at how I can promote the message that I want to shout about: about how amazing Mexican food is. I don’t want to preach about it, I just want to share recipes, mouth-watering ideas for creating food and drink to impress your friends, and a bit of the history and the nutritional properties.

And there is some absolutely fantastic news for the cuisine: UNESCO, the branch of the United Nations that is best known for its list of World Heritage Sites, has just awarded the Mexican cuisine the very prestigious status of “intangible cultural patrimony” along with Chinese cuisine. The French cuisine has been turned down twice.

The superior methods and ingredients used to prepare traditional food such as Mole sauce tamales and salsas are a sharp contrast with the processed cheese and sour cream-covered nachos and cardboard-like hard-shell tacos that many people outside the country typically confuse as Mexican food. I would love to inspire foodies to try a variety of new recipes and ingredients.

Not being such an internet whiz, I will need lots of advice to use the internet era to inspire the foodies who want to try new things. Your suggestions will be welcome.

  • Add your ideas for Marcela to the comments section.

You can find out more about Marcela on the new interactive business website www.inafishbowl.com

startupdonutbannerbutton728x90

Bookmark and Share

Sales breakthrough and a huge dilemma

July 21, 2010 by www.inafishbowl.com

It is a really exciting time for Rico Mexican Kitchen at the moment. You might think I keep on saying this and that’s because business opportunities take twists and turns and there’s never a time to be bored! Having a strategy is fundamental to keep the opportunities and challenges in perspective, but there must be a great amount of flexibility and a desire to go with the flow and take any opportunity too.

The aim of my business is to introduce a new range of fresh, vibrant, genuine Mexican foods and now I’m looking for opportunities which bring volume.

We have achieved a listing with a prestigious supermarket chain, which is great news! What normally happens though is that they will list you in a limited number of stores and monitor the performance of the product and then, if it does well, they will offer to place your product in more branches. The problem here is that for some products, the minimum production runs are quite large and if they have a limited shelf life, the waste whilst in storage would be considerable.

So, if the shops are not enough to cover the minimum production run, we could end up running the production at a loss. I have identified other retailers which will stock the new products, but we still may find ourselves overproducing.

The really big question in whether we should go ahead with this listing and hope for the best, and in the meantime, work like mad to get more listings to give us the volume we need. Or is it best to delay the launch by a few months, get those extra listings first and THEN start producing?

I know that option two sounds safer but the real danger is that while we are working to get more listings, the original listing offer may disappear. This is not unheard of. It may be that a competitor may get the listing instead, or the buyer changes and their successor won’t choose our product. Difficult decision, isn’t it?

You can find out more about Marcela on the new interactive business website www.inafishbowl.com

startupdonutbannerbutton728x90

Bookmark and Share

Managing the business brand

June 28, 2010 by www.inafishbowl.com

I have found that as an entrepreneur, it’s essential to recognise what I’m good at, my weaknesses and some gaps in my current business. I have really enjoyed reading Rachel Elnaugh’s comments to all three fishbowl businesses, because it really strikes a chord.

For example, her advice to Matt at Fishbowl 1 is about the cycles of a business, the ups and downs. She says “...feeling real joy for running your business - no matter what is happening – is the best way to keep your energy high and to stay positive”. I have no problem with this myself, not yet anyway, I do love Monday mornings- in fact, there are no Monday mornings for me, because I can’t remember the last Sunday I didn’t work, at least a few hours.  It’s that endless motivation and passion and belief in what you are doing that will keep on going when the going is tough.

Rachel’s advice to me is about branding and brand execution, which I totally agree with. However, not a visual person myself at all, I need to work closely with people who are, and who have experience in branding. This is where the team player bit comes...

I have met two other people who have much more experience than me in running a business but we have very strong common goals. It’s, as one of them put it, when 1+1+1 can add up to 10. One of them is very strong on the supply chain, the other is a celebrity chef very much into Mexican food and understands the cuisine as well as I do. It sounds great, but trying to meet and make important decisions with two other people is so complicated and it can take such a long time. We are working on the branding at the moment, but the process is complex and I’m finding this stressful... Maybe I shouldn’t worry so much about keeping everyone happy, but it’s important that everyone is on board.

startupdonutbannerbutton728x90

Bookmark and Share
Syndicate content