I graduated from the University of California, Davis in 2005 earning my Bachelor of Science Degree. I didn’t have a game plan of where exactly I wanted to begin my career, yet I was excited to explore business opportunities. Since my first few post grad jobs didn’t meet expectations, I set out to start a business with what I once thought was just to be a business for extra income on the side. I utilized all my resources including the support from my sibling and family who welcomed my ideas with open arms and inspired me to research and pursue cosmeceutical and scientific careers. Fast forward today, our brand is continuing to achieve new strides in the industry like never before, as I am here to share with you my business skills and tactics which worked for me that will provide you a solid foundation on how to potentially start yours.
Post-grad, I was selected by a new home building company to take on the first management trainee position. It was a home building company at the time which had built many communities in southern CA. I was super excited and eager to get started in the summer after graduating. The position required training in all fields such as Operations, Purchasing, Financing, Land Development, and Sales. I soaked in and absorbed as much information in each field possible.
However, being the youngest employee out of 125 working at the Sacramento branch, I often times felt my suggestions or ideas were never taken into consideration or valued, so I quickly had to adjust and wait patiently for my chance to shine. I made it a priority not to ask too many questions, rather I listened to everyone above me whether I agreed to certain duties or not. I learned to just bite the bullet and do what was asked of me.
I decided to start a business right about the same time I was taking evening classes and working part-time. As I became more involved with day-to-day business tasks and necessities to make a start-up business click. Suddenly, my passion grew for my business and everything around it. I became self-motivated, and imagined what it would be like if I spent all my precious hours to build up my skill in this field.
I quickly came to a decision once I finished my classes at a junior college to focus on my business full time. I listened to my heart and followed my vision I had for what used to be my side business. As long as you are motivated, passionate, and determined to chase a vision, only you will know if you can achieve those collection of goals. I just had no time to accept anyone’s suggestions for careers at the time b/c I trusted my skills and put my commitment, passion, and dedication to work. After the first year of filing my 1040 Federal Tax Returns, I realized my potential for continued growth only if I would just dedicate my full-time schedule to this.
The field of “Cosmeceutical Science” was interesting and grabbed my attention. I first started off by conducting lots of research of other cosmeceutical and scientific companies products’ to get a grip and understanding of what was involved, indication of the products, popularity, and competition. I further researched other company’s popular selling products and sought out to find solutions to create, design, advertise, market, and sell my own brand.
This was motivating enough knowing the sales opportunity was endless. Always consider the current and estimated growing trend of your ideas to determine if a presented opportunity is worthwhile pursuing, nevertheless you want to make sure you offer “more”, than your competition. For example, you want to maximize the customer experience to a point where the customer feels safe, secure, appreciated, and comfortable coming back for future visits to become a continued customer, analogous to residual income based on the customer’s loyalty to your company.
I first utilized website optimization. I eventually learned how search engines like Google work when it comes to the popularity of your e-commerce site and what criteria is involved to rank your site. It was important to have a professional site in order to market to professionals in your line of work. The first key is to make sure the professionalism is there. Once you have mastered the art and professionalism of your site, you have their immediate interest in your product. Since most customers have found your company and line of products due to web searches or referral by friends, they’re already interested. By having an eye-catchy site and professionalism in every aspect of the company, this is enough to capture the customer and make the sale. I look at this as the beginning of residual sales from this customer.
Competition will always be fierce across all marketplaces in every industry. The trick is to carefully evaluate your market, determine gaps where you predict opportunity for new products, or room for new technologies to rise with the possibility of success, as this will help determine your niche in the marketplace. It will differentiate and set your product apart from the competition. Your product will be unique and exclusive because you will offer an improved product over your competition which will allow you to be able to advertise the differences and added benefits compared to the competition which wouldn’t otherwise be able to offer.
Since e-mail marketing has minimal costs, you can hire a professional copywriter or e-mail marketing designer to create a professional e-mail with clear, concise, and to the point information about your product or service. Collect as many e-mails from companies you’ve conducted research on which sell your competitor’s product. You can find company e-mails and additional information on websites such as Yelp.com and Yellowpages.com. Make a list, keep organized, and send a professional e-mail introducing your company, services, or product! Due to the limited time a recipient clicks unknown e-mails, the newsletter needs to be “ATTRACTIVE” and informative with professional pictures so it grabs your audiences “ATTENTION”! If you are going to be serious about marketing a product or service, you need to hire the “BEST”, someone who doesn’t compromise their work just to receive a quick check, rather someone who is passionate about the quality of work they provide, in hopes of hiring you for future jobs or receiving business referrals.
I hired experienced developers to design a professional e-commerce site fully equipped with a 3rd party shopping cart and all the merchant processing tools available to where a customer purchasing online would have all the available payment options to minimize cart abandonment and possibility of not being able to pay. I designed the site with safety and security measures and partnered with some of the largest site security authorities in e-commerce to allow customers to feel safe, secure, and protected while providing confidential information required to process an online transaction. Today, online buying has increased, yet unfortunately, the compromise of confidential information. More tools were implemented such as more crucial information, revisions to company policies, company videos, YouTube (if possible), Google translate to cater specifically to their native language to name a few.
Once you begin selling products or services, often times you will receive redundant questions from customers. Keep a spreadsheet, or word document file listing the most commonly asked questions followed with a professional response. Keep the file open when it comes time to answering customer e-mails. Customer e-mails can really eat up lots of valuable time. Your time is valuable and you want to utilize it as you would decide. Cutting and pasting responses will take seconds (with a bit customization catered to each customer), rather than wasting time typing redundant answers or answering similar questions. You want to utilize your time moving the company in a forward direction every day by having a new list of priorities. You want to refer to your list of responsibilities and goals, work towards those goals, then mark it off your to-do list. The lesser amount of time you can spend talking to or answering customer e-mails, the more time you can spend improving your product, brand, or enhancing other aspects of your product or service. You want the customer to feel convinced “Immediately” once they visit your site. Let your site do most of the work. Remember, it took countless hours to produce it, so let it work for you. Receive the order transaction, provide an exceptional product / service, and customer service!
Some selling platforms will automatically accept you as a vendor, others require applications for acceptance into their selling program. Once again this comes down to professionalism. If required, provide samples of all your product, service, or a presentation on your company and what it can offer. Be prepared, provide a variety of marketing materials coupled with a professional letter on company letterhead and address it to the appropriate target audience. Send or present this packet of information to those interested in retailing your brand.
Remember as a business owner you are also going to be in charge of the company’s finances, so you need to carefully examine all the profits & loss, and spending reports. Become familiar with your federal and state income taxes (if applicable), as well as all fees associated to incorporate your company, business licenses, business expenses, the list goes on and on… Make the best decision possible in every category. Ask for advice from family or someone who has experience in business. Also, just as important it is to take on business responsibilities, make sure to have a fine balance between work and leisure. Remember, your time is valuable and nobody can tell you better how you should spend your time. Spend it wisely and make it count!
Manufacturing falls into almost every industry category b/c finally there will be a tangible product or service provided for a product. Development begins with the power of research. Ideas and brainstorming comes prior to research, or it can coincide. For a service, make sure the service closely supports the brand or product you are marketing. In other words, make sure all the services which are involved in the manufacturing procedures are carefully being met. Now, one might ask, “How would I know if all services are being met?” Quality Control is the answer. All products always undergo some sort of quality control check. Make sure the product is brand new and free of error or defectiveness. The more you can avoid product or service error, the less customers will contact you for issues related to this, less rate or return, higher rate of customer satisfaction. The less customers contact you, the more time you will have spending it in other areas in advancing the company.
If it weren’t for my sibling, I simply wouldn’t be where I am today. He played the catalyst role to help me get established in every aspect of business, let alone offering to provide assistance when needed. My advice to a new business owner would be to treat everyone with the utmost respect at all times, especially the companies and vendors you hire. Not all of them will make the job perfect, yet with patience, successful communication and sharing of feedback and ideas, the services you hire them for will gradually improve one run after the next. Just b/c a project doesn’t go as expected the first time, doesn’t necessarily mean it will not go better the second time. Keep focused on building partners with vendors and appreciating those which offer to lend assistance in every way possible b/c ultimately it is you who is improving in all business areas.
It really is unimaginable how powerful the mind is, and how accomplishments from simple visionary goals can lead to task completion and success. At this point, you continue to move on to the next goal after goal, and continue without the thought of limitation.
I believe when entrepreneurs first start off, there are lots of questions of uncertainty. Let me tell you, if you have a passion for something you enjoy doing on a day to day basis, have a good work ethic, are determined, self-motivated, have a good attitude (important because you need to communicate well with lots of vendors), you will find a way to succeed. Of course, the rate of growth is dependent on how much time you dedicate to your business and what type of product / service you are marketing.