Michael Malinsky, Co-Founder & CEO of WUNDER2 www.wunder2.co.uk
The idea of becoming an entrepreneur seems appealing to most – running your own company, having a dedicated team and choosing your own working hours. However, the reality is very different. It’s both rewarding and very challenging. Growing a brand within the beauty industry is only achieved through a combination of hard-work, creativity, confidence and self-belief and very long hours.
As a founder, expect to stay fully connected to all aspects of the business – regulatory, compliance, production, logistics, HR, marketing and finance. Maintaining a 360-degree vantage point is essential to any company growth and development as it enables you, as a key decision maker, to have a sound understanding of the pillars that make your business move and breathe. Even if you’ve employed the most qualified candidate to handle a specific aspect of the business, it is crucial for you to be aware of their developments and work. Just be sure not to mistake this for micro-managing – without the right delegation, your business will never grow properly and you’ll be getting in your own way. Enable individuals to devise solutions for problems, but of course, help and advise when needed. Roll up your sleeves and gain a firm-grasp of your company’s inner workings.
Key to making any business successful is knowing your product and knowing your customer. The ability to confidently guide and help customers make a decision when it comes to your product will lead to customer satisfaction, loyalty and ultimately, customer return. Gone are the days of downloading some fancy ‘marketing’ study or report to summarise the target market or ‘product segment’ in question – by the time you read it, it will be obsolete. There are tools that allow you to survey hundreds of genuine people within minutes. Use them.
It’s 2017. Customers expect to be able to communicate directly with the brand. There’s no such thing as faceless corporations anymore. People will tweet to you and expect an answer. People will comment on your Facebook page, and if you want them as customers, you are going to have to answer, right away. At WUNDER2 – we have a team of 15 people doing just that and responding to every single comment, message or tweet within 10 minutes. This isn’t for bragging purposes or a fancy statistic to mention – but is literally the one thing that sets trust, brand respect, and confidence in place. What do people write? Well, it could be a question about the product prior to consider an order, it could be a quick colour change just after they ordered or it could be a question about using the product once they’ve received it. Many customers will give you feedback on your product, instructions, packaging, and presentation – Listen to it. The moment you assume everything is peachy and demand no improvements from yourself and others on your team – you have lost the race.
It is imperative to know the product you are selling inside out. You must be able to be your company’s best salesman. Are you able to confidently explain to an experienced distributor or beauty professional why they should stock your product? What about just selling your product to a customer – could you do it if you had to? Staying grounded and reminding yourself of the business basics is also essential for growing any brand to new heights.
When expanding to other countries – take the time to familiarise and identify cultural differences and how your marketing/message needs to be adjusted. What works in the UK may not be so well received in France or Germany. The difference in approach is even more stark when working with customers in Asia or the GCC. Always get the assistance of a language native to ensure nothing is lost in ‘translation’. Unfortunately – machine based services are still far from perfect. Ensure pricing strategy is in line with the country you are looking to sell in.
When your business reaches your desired growth curve, keep in mind that your ‘free-time’ may quickly become a thing of the past, but that’s not to say it will disappear forever. As your processes become more defined and the team becomes strong and efficient – the light at the end of the tunnel will appear. And it will be extremely bright!