When I first started Sand Shack three years ago I was determined to succeed. I read piles of books on business and I was sure I had it down. I found a product I knew I could easily get and thought I could easily sell.
Because I grew up overseas, I knew I could buy beach-style jewelry in Thailand and sell it for a mark-up in the United States. I prepared everything I thought I needed. I created a name that was catchy, easy to remember, and reflected the product I was selling. I made business cards, product labels, and formed an LLC. And then I hit the streets of Cape Cod, product in hand and not a clue as to what I was doing.
I didn’t make a sale that day. I lacked experience and confidence. I went into countless stores, and all the owners were very kind and encouraging, but none of them bought. I didn’t know what I was doing; I still had a lot to learn.
I didn’t make a sale on my first day because I was inexperienced and not confident enough in my product or myself, and buyers could see that in me. However, I was still motivated to succeed, and therefore, the next day I went out again. I worked the streets so hard that day; I must have walked miles and miles in search of that first account. And then, when it seemed like I had failed again, I walked into a surf shop on the main street of a small Cape Cod town and made my first sale. Needless to say it was the best feeling in the world.
After that moment I had the confidence I needed to establish over 100 Sand Shack accounts across 12 states, and create a company that would help put me through college and buy my first house.
Below are some of the things I have learned as a young entrepreneur since I began Sand Shack three years ago.
Sell Things Close to Home
The biggest mistake an entrepreneur can make is to choose to sell a product they know nothing about or have no passion for. Just because selling a product can make you money does not mean that it is the right product for you to sell. It is so important to sell something you are truly passionate about, because if you aren’t passionate, your customers will know and your business will suffer.
So when you are choosing what your company will sell, take note to the following steps. Following these three simple steps will not guarantee your success, success will be based upon your merit to sell what you chose, however, following these steps will ensure that you enjoy, and are passionate about, what you are selling.
- Decide what you are passionate about. What do you love?
- Find out what product or service you can easily offer. What can you offer that is already close to home?
- Research the market for the items you have chosen. Can you make money offering these products or services?
Always think big. Set a high sales target for you to reach in one day. When I tell myself I need to make over $2000 in one day, I will usually make it. But if I don’t have a goal, if I don’t think big, and sit around my house, my companies don’t grow. So, set yourself a goal for tomorrow and exceed it.
Don’t Make Excuses
If you need to do something, don’t make excuses that inhibit you from doing it. For instance, when I have a sales meeting with a customer I don’t simply go home after the meeting is done. There is an unlimited amount of possible customers for Sand Shack’s jewelry, hats, belts, or flip-flops. You will be surprised at how much you can fit into a day if you don’t make excuses.
Always Seek Great PR
Nothing lifts you up more than a positive story about you or your company. If you are a young entrepreneur there are plenty of media outlets that would love to broadcast your story to the masses. Visit the offices of your local newspaper or write to a magazine that might share interest in your story, introduce yourself and give them a compelling reason to write a story about you and your company. Recently, my companies and I were featured on the front page of the business section in the local newspaper’s Sunday Times. It not only made me feel great about myself and what I am doing, it brought in more business.
I’m sure the readers of this article are all smart; you wouldn’t have read to this point if you weren’t. The reason you are reading this is because you want to get smarter! Never be content with your current amount of knowledge. The more you know, the more comfortable you will be when doing business. Expand your knowledge of not only the focus of your business, but of everything. Right now you are expanding your knowledge and getting my insights into how I do business.
Obviously, following these steps does not guarantee success, but I believe they all play an important role in an entrepreneur’s life.