Did you know that 1 in 3 new businesses in Australia fail in their first year of operation and 2 out of 4 by the end of the second year? Neither did I and, if I had known, I may have thought differently about starting a new business at the age of 63! However the statistics also show that only 3-5 percent of Australian small businesses prepare a business plan and know that their business is feasible and I at least knew there was quite a demand for what I had to offer.
I took the most profitable department out of my pharmacy, sold my pharmacy and opened a business devoted to offering support, advice and natural solutions to mums with newborn babies suffering the debilitating effects of wind, colic and reflux. Everything was complicated by the fact that I had no money, no pharmacy franchise marketing team, very, very basic technology skills and I had to operate out of new premises that no-one knew about!
Necessity is the mother of invention so I had to do some very inventive marketing very fast on a shoestring budget. 62% of consumers consult Facebook before they purchase from a new company so that seemed a logical place to start. I had written a book about colic and had a Facebook page so I just changed the name to my new business and started blogging. I had lots of names and numbers of grateful mums who had bought my product so I contacted them and asked them to spread the word for me.
In the meantime I knew I desperately needed to upskill my marketing and social media skills so I researched for hours to find the courses that were affordable and had great feedback from customers. I went to seminars and listened to webinars. A lot of the time I was completely bamboozled by all the information presented to me but eventually I settled on a marketing plan that seemed achievable.
Everyone told me I had to make videos for Facebook – it was the way of the future they said. I couldn’t afford a videographer so I bought a selfie stick and a microphone that attached to my iphone and away I went. I did a happiness dance after I had loaded my first video onto Facebook – for me that was a very significant achievement (despite wishing I had someone to do hair and make-up!)
I still have a long way to go with technology but my business is steadily building and I have had some big wins like winning a scholarship with a training company called Linkfluencer who have shown me the wonderful professional benefits of LinkedIn.
My company is now nine months old and we will not be a statistic within the year – I may never be a technology guru but I have pushed through the tantrums and am determined to triumph over my media future with a smile.
Article written by Gai Williams - I am a community pharmacist, author and speaker specialising in providing advice, support and natural solutions to new mums whose babies are suffering the pain of wind, colic and reflux. I have owned and operated community pharmacies for over 25 years in Melbourne whilst raising three sons. I was the first female chairman of Guardian Pharmacies Australia, a finalist in the 2000 Telstra Women's Business Awards and am deputy chair on the board of our local community banks. I love networking, travelling, football, learning, movies and champagne!