The early years of business are notoriously some of the hardest and it is no secret that the majority of businesses fail within the first 3 years, and even most of those who survive this will go on to fail in the following 2. My good friend opened up an artisan shoe store when she was just 20 years old and here we are 6 years on and she has just opened up a second. I was chatting with Tatiana last week and I asked her what tips she would have for those who wish to go into business, when it comes to surviving those first couple of years.
Tatiana Kukanova Regan started out in a very small way and she tells me that even though from that young age she had huge ambitions of taking on some of the best in the footwear industry. What she tells us was very important for her however was learning to understand who she was in relation to the industry and she set about making her small store the very best that it could be, rather than looking at what others were doing. When she set up the business Tatiana tells me that there were 3 other new businesses that opened up in the same street, and that she was the only one left standing. She believes that her understanding of her scale was half of the reason as to why she succeeded.
Another aspect of the business which Tatiana invested a great amount of time into was creating contacts which have served her very well over the years. A perfect example of this was a delivery driver who she made very good friends with who later went on to put together his own supply company. To show her support she used this company and in return he gave her enormous discounts. As Tatiana says, many believe that to do well in business you must be a monster but her experience was on the contrary, and it has clearly paid dividends.
Going back to the other new businesses which opened up at the same time as Tatiana she says that of the four she was the only one who invested any money in marketing. She confesses that at the time it was quite a risk because she really didn’t have very much capital in the business. Nonetheless she trusted her instincts and put together a digital marketing campaign which proved to be very successful. It is no surprise to Tatiana that the only business of 4 new companies which invested any money in marketing is still standing and she says that she would recommend a smart marketing strategy to any new business looking for success. In her view marketing should always be considered an investment rather than a cost.
Tatiana’s approach has really paid off and perhaps you can takeaway some tips from how she went about it.