It was no April fools joke when UnderMyPants launched last year. As the starry-eyed founders, we were reassured that our ‘great idea’ would be a huge hit. Everyone had given us feedback on the website and said they liked it. What could possibly wrong?
We’ll a lot of things went wrong and just as many things went right. We stand here, one year on the journey having learnt a lot. We are now facing real business challenges that will continue to make or break us – Logistics, costs and continual growth. We thought we’d reflect on what were some of the lessons we learnt from our first year in business.
Sales are hard to come by
Perhaps one of the funniest journeys we went on this year was overcoming our first challenge of acquiring sales. We felt like we were in the Sahara desert when we first launched and it wasn’t until we went out to our customers that we found out our idea and website had more holes in it than Swisse Cheese. So what do you do in the face of a challenge? You listen, you ask as many people as possible for feedback and you try new things. Being able to pivot has allowed the business to sell one off underwear and sock packs. Shifting to include this new business model has allowed us to generate constant sales, expand our audience and grow the subscription side of our business.
In November last year business for us in both the New Zealand and Australian market really kicked off. As it kicked off we had more orders then we could handle. It led to us being ‘too busy’ to implement practices that we had prided ourselves on. We loved confirming orders, hand writing cards and speaking to our customers on a regular basis. By not doing so, we lost our identity and it was evident to us given the feedback we were getting. The operations team took a deep breath and went back to what gave them joy. They implemented the practices that helped us get to that level of growth and we continued to communicate with our customers. We believe in good customer service and delivering a good experience and we will continue to do this in our own way.
There’s always a new challenge
When things are good you can find yourself getting ahead of the curve. Perhaps I don’t need to get up at 5am this morning. Argh, that task can wait till tomorrow. It’s not vital, we’re making money right? How wrong this attitude is! It’s so important to have your finger on the pulse and be constantly pushing yourself. Taking your eyes off the road just leads to more stress down the track.
Bad turns into good – Always believe
Whenever we’ve had a down time, it’s always been followed by good growth in the company. We’ve learnt that you simply need to believe. When I’m stressed out of my mind and can’t see how I’ll get through this challenge or even get through the day, I tell myself to believe. I tell myself that I need to believe this hard work will bring on the next wave of good news. I need to believe what I am doing is the right thing for the company and our partners. I need to believe this is the right step for the company.
The best part? When you truly do believe, you get through the moment and find yourself overcoming the challenge. Positive reinforcement goes along way when owning a business.
Mark W April 2, 2018
Posted In: startup