Starting your own business can be a scary prospect, especially when things don’t work out how you’d hoped. It’s completely normal to come up against challenges – even well-established businesses do – but knowing what to do when those challenges arise can be tricky.
After all, there are times when it’s possible to work through adversity. Indeed, in some cases, it’s this moment of struggle that really defines a business. In other cases, however, there comes a time when you have to admit that things aren’t working and switch up your strategy.
But how can you tell which option is right for you? According to the experts, it’s all about taking stock of your business as a whole and identifying the areas where things aren’t working.
Speaking on a panel about building a successful business at our Stylist Network event last week (21 February), Lisou London founder and creative director Rene Macdonald shared her advice.
“I think it depends what’s working, really,” she said when asked how to tell when you need to change tactics. “If you’re doing something and you’re just not getting traction, clearly, you’ve got to try a different method. But if what you’re doing is worth doing, then [that’s up to you].”
Echoing Macdonald’s advice, Marisa Hordern, the founder and creative director of the jewellery brand Missoma London, stressed the importance of looking at specific areas of your business when you’re facing challenges, rather than letting go of your vision as a whole.
“I definitely persevered, persevered, persevered, but I probably pivoted how I marketed and found the right channels – where my audience lives – and the right price points,” she said.
“It might be that you need to tweak something, not completely pivot. But [as Rene said], if it’s not working then something probably needs to change or you haven’t quite found the right thing [to target].”
The importance of experimenting and trying new things was also something the panel members advised. “Don’t be afraid to try, because sometimes we’ll try a multitude of things and nothing is working and you’ll be like, ‘Oh my God’, and then something suddenly clicks,” Macdonald said.
Hordern added: “In business you need to take risks, right, so you might try 10 things and only two really work, and you don’t need to take risks every day, but you do need to be adventurous because then you know what things work and which things don’t.”
Macdonald and Hordern were joined by Little Moons CEO and co-founder Vivien Wong and Buy Women Built co-founder Sahar Hashemi OBE on the panel, which saw Stylist editor-in-chief Lisa Smosarski ask the experts about how they managed to build a successful business.
The panel was followed by an informal networking session, where attendees were able to ask questions and receive advice from the experts.