It's been 6 years since we have started the journey at The Gourmet Box. It has certainly not been an easy ride but its safe to say that it has been the most exciting 6 years of our lives. Leaving our well-paid jobs to starting your own business. To start an online Gourmet Food Retail store at a time when online shopping had just started to gain popularity; certainly came with its own set of challenges. But that's what made the process fun for us.
Reflecting back on the 6 years that we have spent building this company, we have learnt and grown a lot. We have paved a path for us by making mistakes and learning from them. Everyday posed a new challenge and new learning from it. But what was key that we never backed down and stopped moving forward.
Looking back at our 6 years, these are top lessons that we have learned while starting our own business:
Don't Get Scared to Stir Things up If Something Is Not Working for You
'Its just business' - that is the motto that we stood by. Do not get attached to your idea that you had when you started the business. If it is not working; it's Ok to let it go and focus on the aspects of your business that are working financially.
The Gourmet Box started as a Gourmet Subscription Service company. We were also retailing Gourmet food products as well as curating Gift hampers. But we came to be known as a Gourmet food subscription box company. We got a lot of recognition for it because of its unique concept in India. This recognition helped our sales grow. But we soon noticed that the revenue generated was from selling gourmet food products and gourmet gift hampers and not the subscription service. Subscription service was still getting us the buzz but not the money. As soon as the buzz died we revisited the subscription model, tweaked it to try to see if it works. It still dints and thus we made the decision to discontinue the subscription service and focus on Gourmet food retail and Gourmet Gifting.
It's good to have a clear path while starting our own business. But what we learnt was that you have to flexible along that path and be open to tweaking to make it a successful one.
Charge for The Quality of Service You Provide
Clients always appreciate quality and they do not mind paying that extra buck for it. Make sure that you are delivering only the best. Spending that extra time and money to make sure that you deliver only the best will be remembered by your clients and will, in turn, bring you to repeat business.
There will always be another company who is willing to do what you do for a lesser cost. You might get tempted to lower your cost just to get the business. But if it doesn't prove to financially viable then it is not worth sacrificing the quality of your services for it.
There Is No Harm in Saying No
When you are just starting off you are desperate to get as much attention for your brand as possible. In that greed a lot of times you tend to make hasty decisions of collaborating with anyone and everyone. In most cases, you end up losing money and not gaining much out of it. Promotional activities that do not convert to sales eventually are of no value. Every promotional activity conducted has to be done keeping in mind the ROI on it. So take a step back and analyse what will be the monetary conversion for any collaboration or marketing activity and only invest in ones which make fiscal sense. Do not be afraid to say NO.
'You Do You'
Figure out your aesthetic and USP and stick to it. Do not get sucked into the rat race of competing with your competitors. You might be able to copy them but not necessarily be good at it. Clients appreciate originality and clarity - so always Do YOU.
Hire Quality Services when You Are Ready for It
Identify the services that work for your business. Just because everyone else is hiring a certain kind of services doesn't mean that they will work for you. Once you have identified the key services you require to hire to grow your business; get well-qualified professionals onboard. Focus on the kind of work they have done in the past and how they have helped other companies within your industry grow. Hire when you can afford to invest in them. Even though they might be a little more expensive than other companies, it is worth the investment as they are sure to give you back your worth.
Good Relationships Go a Long Way
Focus on building relationships. Whether it's with your clients or vendors, suppliers, partners, or anyone for that matter. Good relationships go a long way and you are remembered for a long time. Clients are sure to give you repeat business and vendors are sure to give to great service. So invest your time in personally talking to them once in a while and listen to their feedback carefully - it goes a long way.
These are some of the key lessons we have learnt in 6 years of building and growing The Gourmet Box. Are there any key learnings that you have picked up while working or building your business?
Post them in the comments section below - we would love to hear from you because we strongly believe that Learning should never stop.