Lisa and I are two female entrepreneurs who set up a baking business specialising in personalised and branded biscuits.
When we started out, we knew absolutely nothing about setting up a business. We didn’t come from entrepreneurial families. We lived in a foreign country and didn’t grow up in this system. But we liked baking, we missed the bakes of our home countries (Germany and The Netherlands) and so we decided to develop a range of products and take them to market to see if others might enjoy our biscuits, cakes and pies as much as we did.
And let me tell you they loved them! That is where the steep learning curve started. Because while we loved (and still love) working markets and getting that instant feedback from your customers, we realised that not putting any effort in the digital world would be to the detriment of our business.
Lisa and I were lucky in this respect because we gained a lot of digital skills while working for a digital marketing agency. These transferable skills were a huge benefit for us. If you have never worked in digital it is pertinent that you make it your business to delve into this world. Research, sign up to newsletters, read whitepapers. Because once you decide you need help from experts in this field, you will get so much more for your money when you know the basics. There are plenty of skilled people and businesses out there that can help you succeed online.
Think of any aspect of running a business that simply has to be in place to run it properly. The first thing that comes to my mind is: accounting. Good bookkeeping is vital to keep your business afloat. Now if accounting is not your forte you hire an accountant. It is still wise to know the basics of accounting so you can have true informed conversations with your accountant. But the actual number crunching is the accountant’s day to day business not yours. And you know what they say a good accountant pays for itself.
The absolute same holds true for your digital presence. After all, if you want to be professional, you need help from a professional in some fields.
It is important to understand this: 1 of every 5 pounds spent in retail in the UK is spent online (Office of National Statistics). And this number is ever-increasing! Yes, of course, you can read from this that more money is still spent offline. But it is not feasible for every start-up to be selling offline (us included, partly due to family commitments and the way our business is set up). Take yourself as an example, and be honest. How many products have you bought online in the past 3 months? And how convenient was this?
A good product and word of mouth alone will only get you so far and unfortunately is unlikely to propel your business forward in any great haste, mainly due to competition. This is why it is worth to spend some time understanding why it is so important to be found online. And look for a basic understanding so that you can start a meaningful conversation with professionals in this line of business who can support you during your online journey.
If you do not know where to start, then learn from what your competitors are doing. Which, if any, online platforms do they operate on? Who can help you navigate a way for your business to be up there as well?
Currently, the digital world is a men’s world. And it can be daunting entering a field where you feel you are not capable or able enough. Being businesswomen in and of itself is hard. So, you are no stranger to doing things the hard way. So, simply keep asking all the questions you need to ask and never be afraid to show what might appear as weakness. It is one of our big advantages and opens so much room to grow and learn and make a commitment to understanding digital.
Getting and understanding digital is just one other element in the journey of your business. One that, if played right, can win you hundreds of percentage points in your revenue. We have seen exactly this while working for clients in a digital marketing agency and we have seen it for ourselves in our own business. Most if not all large baking jobs come through via our website. To date, we have been contacted and baked for the likes of Amazon, Harvey Nichols, NatWest, Fendi, etc. All these orders would have been impossible to land if we weren’t visible online.
If you yourself don’t know how to, then simply ask help from someone who knows. There are plenty of able professionals who would love to work with you to elevate your brand, product and/or service and have a history of understanding digital.
This is a fabulous guest blog by the wonderful Saskia of Bloom Bakers. Their journey is totally inspirational.