As the last few weeks of 2021 play itself out, we have had no time to think of 2022 as we prepare for the busiest months of the calendar year. This time last year we were entering into unknown territory with Black Friday Sales as well as Christmas looming large. Those few months of 2020 were a blur, it was crazy looking back to that time even though it was only 12 months ago. Over those last 12 months we have done a lot of work to build strong foundations to help the efficiency on how we plan to work over those busy sales periods as I have mentioned above. If Business has taught me anything over the last year it is that it stops for no one. If you sit idle or don’t learn from experiences, the business world will gobble you up and spit you back out again; it is ruthless. What I mean by that is, when things go wrong in business and especially for us in our first year, we made sure we learnt from any mistakes or problems and took all the necessary measures to prevent them happening the next time around. I entered the business game completely raw with absolutely no experience or academic degrees, the knowledge that I have acquired have came from books and from the learning of mistakes. As long as you learn from mistakes and they aren’t detrimental to the business or brand then I think they are a great learning tool; especially for me who is learning on the job, it is important I absorb everything from the first few years so I can create a strong base for the business to grow. When I say mistakes or problems, I mean things that we could have done or planned better, for example, the ordering of stock for those big events like Black Friday and Christmas. When is the best time to order? How can we make the most out of our funds that we can still maintain a good level of stock to keep us ticking over to then? These are the little snags and problems that need solved in order to be more experienced than the year previous. When I talk about creating that learning environment, I like to prioritise it within the workplace over these next few weeks especially as we enter into the busiest spell of the year, when we become aware of any problems or mistakes, we can take note of them and make sure they don’t happen again down the line.
Within the office here at MOVE we are trying to build on the foundations we have set in year one. Effectively we are building this brand brick by brick, we try not to rush the process and we are all the bricklayers. We are running all our systems, marketing, and everything else in-house. We have decided we would rather learn all aspects of brand building within the walls of the office. Why? Well, it means we have complete clarity on everything about the brand, it also creates a stronger connection between the staff here and the brand itself and that for me is important if you elude back to Part 1 of this series. When we identify what needs worked on within the brand, we assign our staff that role to eradicate the problem or issue so that means they have the essential experience to help deal with similar issues that may arise in the future. In terms of our Google and Facebook ads, we haven’t run a single AD in months, that’s crazy, right? We had a third party doing that for us for months when we were only starting up and it worked really well for us, but as we grew in staff members, we gained staff with Marketing credentials so we decided to pull the pin on it being carried out externally and decided to double down on how to effectively manage it from within the office here. That was a big decision to make as we were effectively halting something that was working well for us and our sales to swallow some pride and think of the long-term project and gain. There is nothing wrong with sourcing external businesses for help or work by the way, nearly every business or organisation does it in some degree and a lot couldn’t function without the professional help of others. Although, for MOVE and the profession of work we are in, I think for us to grow the way we want and the clarity we need within all aspects of our work projects here, it is great that the whole office is integrated on what goes on everyday within the brand and by doing it all in-house we can steady the ship and build that foundation brick by brick and on our own terms.
I was asked on a Podcast last week ‘What does the future hold for MOVE?’ and to be honest I couldn’t really answer it. That probably sounds like we have no optimism or drive to succeed but in reality, I haven’t even let my mind wander that far in advance and why would I? I think its really important to keep grounded with the process that we are in right now and enjoy building those bricks. When you are building a house, you don’t build the second floor before the first and you don’t build the first floor until you have solid foundations set in place. The foundation stage of the house is where I would say MOVE is right now. The future is clouded for us, and to be honest its not really going to help myself, the office or the brand if we start getting carried away with how big and far this brand could grow, now is not the time to think about the future especially when we are only 18 months into our journey. That doesn’t mean I don’t set goals or targets for the business, of course I do but they are short term and achievable which in turn helps the smooth development of progression. I think I am trying to emphasise the importance of setting your brand, business or organisation up with solid foundations before thinking too far ahead. The journey so far has taught us that you can’t rush to far ahead with progress, you might also have to knock down some walls and remove some bricks and restart in order for the greater good of the house (Brand). What does that look like in our business setting? Well, changing fabric composition for the greater good of customer satisfaction when it costs you more to manufacture, it means sourcing and choosing sustainable and recyclable packaging for the greater good of our environment even though the price rises for those products affect our own business.
Building Foundations for us means we prioritise customer service and happy customers, we prioritise the quality and longevity of our products, we prioritise our sustainable actions that help our environment and the world that we live in. We are passionate about the things mentioned above and as we make it a priority it will become instilled in our brands ethos which will hopefully stand to us as we progress. There is no point rushing the foundation stage just to make a ‘quick buck’ and then worry about the steps you have missed afterwards; it will be too late. People out there aren’t stupid and they will see through you very quickly. The foundations we have set are foundations we are obsessive about and we hope they can help elevate the growth of the brand organically through the support of the customer.
As I mentioned in Part I a few weeks back, I don’t know it all within the world of entrepreneurship, business or branding – Not one person on this earth does. It really is a learning process for myself and my staff but when you are open to learning new roles and tasks it does make you accountable for the growth of the brand, it lies in your own hands, effectively. I try and read as many books on business as I can, I try to listen to as many people on business as I can, I made a promise to myself that I will not let this opportunity pass as quick as it was handed to me. It is extremely important not to think we are safe because we have made it through the first 18 months, its crucial that we continue to push our boundaries, our knowledge and our appetite for further progression. This journey is only starting and because we are enjoying the process and setting those foundations in place it makes the office a great place to work every day and it makes MOVE a great brand to be associated with. ‘BUILD STRONG FOUNDATIONS’ – That’s the piece of advice I will highlight in this week’s article as it’s something I fully believe. You can’t become a talented athlete without endless hours of practice, you can’t run a marathon without getting the miles in the legs beforehand, you can’t build a business without bullet proofing the systems. Take that piece of advice and apply it for your own personal life. When you go through and overcome tough and challenging times, imagine it as if you laid down a brick to your foundation, every single brick signifies a learning experience which in turn makes you stronger. You build those foundations over time so you can survive the stormy weather (setbacks). A strong house doesn’t blow over in stormy weather and in the same way, you won’t blow over when life challenges you. If you build strong foundations, you can survive anything and any situation.