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Five business practices that could help you go national

The Printed Bag Shop didn’t start out big. The team have worked tirelessly to reach the UK’s number one spot for printed bags. Here are five ways that we achieved this:

1) Provide the best possible service

“Everyone at the Printed Bag Shop prides themselves on providing the best possible service. Staff really put the effort in to create a fantastic experience for each and every client, and the aim is to make each experience one to remember - for all the right reasons.

It also doesn’t matter how big the client is - whether you’re dealing with a large corporate organisation or a small business, the key is to deliver consistently high standards. In the Printed Bag Shop’s case, it makes no difference whether a customer is ordering a thousand bags, or a million bags - everyone is treated exactly the same. And that’s been vital in helping us grow - especially in the beginning when late nights and early days were the norm!”

2) Know what to look for in a market

When we set out to build our business, we made sure we were addressing gaps in the market that needed to be filled. We spent a lot of our time researching what customers wanted, before developing and creating the products that met those needs. For example, we knew that businesses continually increase their budgets when it comes to innovative methods of advertising, and we were able to offer printed bags as an outlet for those marketing messages - and increase our own income at the same time.

But remember, we were also just as careful to research what customers didn’t want either - and this was probably equally as important in our growth.

3) Find the right people

If you’ve started off as a lone entrepreneur, at some point you’ll begin to realise that you can’t do everything by yourself. That’s when you need to start building a solid team around you, made up of people who are just as passionate and committed as you are. In our case, I discovered it was really tough to look after the accounting and financial side of the business as well as everything else, but I was lucky enough after just 6 months to be able to start hiring. After that, everything else started moving really fast.

4) Network, network (and network some more!)

Building up a long list of customers is pretty important, but what many entrepreneurs overlook is that it’s also just as important to build up an equally big network of experienced peers and other contacts who can advise, steer and help you with specific issues. As you know, this is called networking, and if you’re not especially comfortable with meeting people face to face, you can reap almost the same kind of rewards by building up an online community of contacts.
Either way, talking to people who’ve been in the same boat as you can be really useful, especially if you find someone who can tell it like it really is, warts and all. It really is the best way of finding out what to expect on your way to dealing nationally, when to expect it, and how to deal with it when it happens.

5) Take a chance or two

Most entrepreneurs will tell you that they’ve taken a bit of a punt at some point in their careers, whether it’s putting an untested idea into practice, launching a brand new product, or just expanding into an unknown area. In our case, we opened our business during one of the worst periods of unemployment in the UK for decades without any prior experience. That was a huge risk for us, but it really paid off.

In fact, we really wouldn’t be the national company we are today without the help we had from our network of contacts and online communities.

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