Sisterhood of success: 5 practical tips for aspiring business owners
Porschia4 Sep, 2023
Small business owners are shining examples of resourcefulness and determination in today’s rapidly evolving business landscape.
They excel in providing personalised customer experiences and building strong community connections. These owners often have to wear multiple hats while getting their business operations off the ground, from acquiring clients to building a solid brand that can thrive.
Amongst it all, they still need to seek opportunities to improve, grow and manage their businesses daily.
During August, we explored the stories of three extraordinary women and their business endeavours. Led and founded by inspiring female leaders, At Stylar, Cafe Frank, and Crumbs and Cream have all established their own distinctive niches.
Read more: 6 factors you should consider when starting a business
We were honoured to get an inside look into their business journeys and the strategies that propelled them towards success.
Explore their valuable insights below, and use their wisdom to inspire your own business journey.
1. Find one client
Drawing from her own experience, Ronel van Vollenhoven emphasises the significance of crafting a solid business plan and securing at least one client when initiating your entrepreneurial journey. Her business, At Stylar, based in Observatory Cape Town, is the ultimate hair, beauty salon, and barbershop that strives to bring only the best results.
Since starting her business, Ronel has been lucky to find clients who have become like family. These clients were instrumental in At Stylar being rated in the top 5 in the Best of the Cape Awards by KFM radio for two consecutive years (2021 and 2022).
“It’s pointless to have a website or a physical location if you don’t have any clients,” says Ronel. “But with even just one client, you have a business; and that one client can lead to more clients.”
Her advice to any business owner is to put quality work into every client because they will most likely refer other potential clients to you.
2. Grow your business organically
Café Frank, which originated as Rotisserie 360 nine years ago, has since evolved into a successful business. Initially providing fresh and nourishing food for busy professionals, they have now transformed into a conscious dining experience that offers hassle-free dining and delivery.
Business owner Debbie Wynne attributes their impressive success to their focus on organic growth.
“It’s fine to stay small and to grow your business organically,” says Debbie. “That will help you minimise your risk and create a more sustainable business in the long term.”
Debbie also recommends that business owners take the time to understand their customers’ needs and preferences, as this can provide valuable insights that can help grow their business organically.
Whether you’re an aspiring entrepreneur or an established business owner, investing in organic growth is crucial. It allows you to actively engage your customers in decision-making and meet their needs effectively.
Avoid the constant pursuit of rapid expansion and instead concentrate on areas that will allow slow but steady growth. Patience and hard work will eventually yield rewarding results.
3. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail
Starting a new business is like setting off on an exciting journey. And just as you would require a map for a trip, a business plan serves as your guiding map to help your new business navigate its way to success.
Debbie from Café Frank stresses the importance of having a plan, regardless of size, as it will significantly impact your business’s future success.
“As hard and time-consuming it is to do one, it’s the most important thing you can do,” she says. “If necessary, get somebody to help you with it. I also suggest that you stick to your plan.”
However, while sticking to your plan will help you get your business off the ground, it’s equally important to acknowledge that your initial plan may evolve as you gather new insights. Once you know more about your business, it’s perfectly acceptable to make adjustments and pivot when necessary.
4. Prioritise your brand
The idea of sandwiching ice cream between cookies was relatively new until Crumbs and Cream introduced it to Cape Town in 2016.
Ori Lahat, co-owner and founder of Crumbs and Cream, discovered a key factor that propelled her business forward: dedicating considerable effort to refining her brand.
A well-crafted brand can transcend products and services, resonating deeply with the target audience and creating a lasting imprint in their minds.
Before launching Crumbs and Cream, Ori and her sister focused on developing their brand voice and visual identity.
“Your brand needs to speak loud and clear, so when people visit your store, they understand your brand’s purpose, not only the product itself.”
This small but significant decision allowed their brand to expand on social media, fostering a sense of community and joy with their followers and has massively assisted in the success of their business.
5. Maximise social media
In today’s fast-paced world, social media offers a powerful avenue to reach clients and establish meaningful relationships.
Ori Lahat believes that social media is an incredible method for swiftly engaging clients and cultivating strong relationships, especially when complemented by identifying dedicated influencers who resonate with your work and connect with your products.
“Social media is just a really amazing way of quickly approaching your clients,” she says.”We’ve been super lucky, as social media helped us to spread the word very easily and very quickly.”
The moral of the story is that social media is an important tool to invest in to market your business. It offers a free platform to connect with clients and build genuine relationships. Its versatility, accessibility, and cost-effectiveness make it a powerful tool for small businesses.
Despite the ever-changing nature of business, the highs and lows, the sleepless nights, and the moments worth celebrating, certain fundamental principles always remain relevant.
Ronel van Vollenhoven’s emphasis on securing that first client is a reminder that every journey starts with a single step – and a single client. Debbie Wynne’s journey with Café Frank encourages us to embrace organic growth and trust our customers to guide our expansion. Ori Lahat’s testament to the power of branding is proof that a well-defined identity can propel a business beyond its products.
As an entrepreneur, you possess the ability to craft your own narrative. So, take the reins and create a business adventure that’s worth sharing!
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