February 26, 2021
My Guest today is Rumaanah Ghantiwala a young entrepreneur and founder of 'Co-Ordinate', a luxury clothing boutique. Alongside this, Rumaanah is heavily involved with charity work and impressively is the director of Beat Breast Cancer UK. Throughout her business, Rumanaah has always strived to make a difference by incorporating sustainable practices. Currently, she is studying Medicine at The University of Liverpool.
"Robin helped me understand the fundamental principle of creating a ‘minimum viable product’ which is explored in the podcast. As well as this and having a ‘Nespresso machine product’ to drive sales. The session was very informative and was just the push I needed! I’d recommend to anyone with a business to listen to his podcasts and speak to him as his advice is what will help take your business to the next level. Thanks, Robin!"
In this episode, we’re switching things up, with Robin being interviewed by Rumaanah Ghantiwala, a medical student and young entrepreneur setting up her own clothing company. Rumaanah chats to Robin, asking for tips and advice on what young entrepreneurs should be doing to grow their startup business. Discussions include mindset, money, marketing, and more. Stay tuned!
When you hear the word ‘launch’, your mind often goes to having the perfect website and building a social media profile. Those things are important, but is there too much emphasis on them?
Ultimately the goal in business is to find an audience and sell products to them. Naturally, this should be done with a sense of purpose, vision, and mission behind it because there is a reason that you set up your business in the first place.
If you spend all your time on designing a website and your social media feed though, you get to a point where you feel ready to launch, but you have no one to launch to.
What you should be doing is getting out there, finding your ideal customers, and showing them what your business has to offer. You want to engage people’s interest first and then you can work on the social media side of things. It’s all about getting that data.
The Lean Startup by Eric Ries is well worth a read from this perspective. He talks about having a minimum viable product. You take features out of the business which isn’t instrumental to selling and save them for later. You launch with a minimal version of your business that people can start to connect to. This means that you can launch 80% of what you would have spent 12 months trying to perfect, start getting feedback and data, all while building a community.
As a result of the internet, there are 10 times as many businesses as there were 30 years ago, with the market being over-saturated. It’s easy to source products and set up a social media page. Conversely, this means it is 10 times harder for people to find you, and standing out from the crowd is even harder because there are so many businesses with the same ideas. It comes back to supply and demand principles. When there's not much supply, but a lot of demand, products will be expensive. If there's lots of supply and only a small demand, products will end up being cheap.
When you run a business, it is difficult not to focus on your product or service, because they are the central part to your business. Yet, mastering marketing and sales should be the focus. You may think nobody is buying from you because your offering is not right when really you haven’t properly marketed your first product and made it popular.
Another way to view how you market your business is through personal branding. You are a personal brand. People don’t just know you because of your product or service. They connect to you, your philosophy, culture, and environment, as well as your content and any bonuses along the way. It is only then, after your ideal audience gets to know you, that they can take interest in your product or service.
You and your branding are the main focus.
When you first launch a product, no one will be that bothered, but they will in time because they will connect to your product through your personal branding.
When it comes to creating a marketing strategy, there are two different ways to approach it.
Marketing activity is when you are constantly showing up online, whether that’s on your website or social media, to bring awareness to your products.
A marketing asset takes time to develop, such as a book or YouTube video. Once you have that asset though, and it starts bringing in positive reviews, this asset can then act as a form of passive marketing and generate leads.
No one strategy works for all, and it takes time and some experimentation to find what works for you.
When it comes to social media marketing, there is an expert for every platform out there, saying that you need to be using their platform.
The minimum viable product approach should be used in your marketing too. Find a strategy that is easy, cheap, and quick to set up, and get some data back, but likewise don’t expect sales to magically happen straight away.
Facebook ads, for instance, can be a minefield and maybe not suitable if you are starting up. Where they could be useful is to invest a small amount of money in them, for example, £20, not with the intention of making sales, but to see if you get any feedback and data from them.
What’s the secret to creating an unbeatable offering that customers can’t resist?
Pricing is key. You want your pricing to represent the quality of your offering. If that is a luxury fashion item, then showcase that in the pricing, because people know there is quality there, and when someone truly desires something, they will want to get that product.
If you run a fashion brand, for example, your offering may not just be your products. You could offer fashion consultations and share style advice coming from someone who understands fashion.
Impostor syndrome tends to creep in, especially if you are at the beginning of your business journey. You have to show your expertise to be recognised as an expert though. Rather than ‘fake it until you make it’, show everyone what you can do and 'make it until you make it’. Often it’s about having the confidence to put yourself out there.
You also don’t want to let one piece of negative feedback affect you. Use it as motivation to go out there and collect more positive reviews.
Little things can help boost your business profile such as adding a Google business listing, and adding your brand content and products, as well as positive reviews. This will make your brand stand out more and become more reliable.
Even if another brand is doing something similar out there, what makes your brand different is you, your branding, your service, and how you make people feel. It’s about bringing your interpretation and individuality which makes your brand unique.
We’ve mentioned focusing on sales, but what are some ways to get enough sales and customers to make a profit?
The trick is to be creative. If you are a fashion brand for instance, are there any local boutique shops or even larger distributors that could stock your products? It’s about taking action which will enable you to reach your goal. Be open to all possible opportunities.
Again, it’s not all about the website. Even if it’s not set up properly yet, if someone wants to buy your product, there will be a way to make a sale happen.
After all, if there’s anything to take from this episode, it’s that creating those connections matters.
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