Learn Tara’s top 10 tips to help you grow your business. Tara Roberts is the owner of Cold Cactus Boutique, Canadian- based lifestyle western and country chic boutique. She wrote an article in our Summer 2021 Issue of Trailblazher Magazine describing how she grew her own business from the ground up, and is now leaving her tips and tricks with you! Keep reading to learn Tara’s tips to help you grow your business.
At some point or another, we all have what we think is a great business idea. Sadly many people quit on these dreams before they even come into existence. Creating a plan for a successful business is HARD. Having the gumption to take that leap, risk potential failure and launch a business is HARD. Sticking with it through doubt and challenging times is HARD. Growing it and the pains that come with that growth are HARD. However, launching and growing a successful business is doable and it feels more attainable when you surround yourself with a community of like minded business entrepreneurs who can inspire you and provide guidance.
I am the owner of The Cold Cactus Boutique, a Canadian- based lifestyle western and country chic boutique established in 2018, that now has an international following across various social media platforms. Throughout the growth of Cold Cactus I have acquired considerable knowledge regarding effective methods for business growth. It’s not uncommon for me to share my knowledge and the lessons I’ve learned with others who are looking to start and grow their small businesses. As well, I often find myself discussing business topics with my industry friends and working collaboratively to reach greater levels of success.
Two of the most common questions I (along with other established entrepreneurs) find ourselves being asked by new business owners are: “What is something you wish you had done sooner?” and “What has contributed to your growth and success?”
Let me say that there is no ‘secret recipe’ or single ingredient that contributes to growth and success. My industry friends and I have learned lessons and valuable concepts that help to provide guidance to these questions.
Whether you have plans for an existing e-commerce store, are a maker, a photographer, have farm gate sales, or another type of small business, here are the top things I recommend implementing now. When done in unison with each other, these suggestions will help you grow, optimize and enjoy your business:
Let me elaborate on a few of these key points a little more…
You are uniquely you. While not everyone is comfortable being the face of their own brand, I HIGHLY recommend it. There may be other businesses that offer the same or similar products or services as you do – but YOU are going to be what makes your business truly unique. Likely your customers will support your business because of YOU. I’ve learned the value of showing up for my customers and finding things beyond what I am selling that I can share that allow me to connect, engage, and interact. Don’t worry about perfection – be raw, real, and authentic – your customers will love it because it makes you relatable. Remember to show the behind the scenes and other aspects of your life that makes you human.
Beth, from Rustic Rose, explains it this way, “Transitioning Rustic Rose into a personal brand is something I wish I had done sooner. When I began making my business social media content more personal and started sharing my day- to-day and incorporating my personality – my brand went to the next level. People love getting to know and support the people behind small businesses and showing up and sharing things more personal will only strengthen relationships and create more brand loyalty with your customers.” I couldn’t agree more!
While many small business owners wear many hats – buying, making, marketing, customer service, order fulfillment and more, it is important to recognize where the bottleneck(s) and inefficiencies exist in your business. Where do you excel and enjoy spending your time and what are your weaknesses?
Linnden, from Pretty in Print, recommends hiring and outsourcing what you aren’t good at. She runs her business by the motto – “Do what you do best, hire out the rest”. She believes that when you stay within your genius, you will get farther, faster, and save yourself the burnout in the process. In most businesses, hiring out bookkeeping and order fulfillment are some of the best starting places to begin hiring or outsourcing so that you can free up much of your time, allowing you to focus on building and moving your business forward.
I can’t stress enough the value of quality content. When I say quality content, I am referring to content that is:
Focus on creating content that provides value to your customer and does one of the following – solves their problems, entertains, provides inspiration, or has some other value-added objective. In creating content, ask yourself the following questions, “What are the current problem(s) my customer faces? How can I solve them?”
Your customer may want to know where their food comes from, what goes into making a product, or perhaps what clothing will best suit their body shape. I know for sure that aesthetically attractive and engaging lifestyle content has helped to define the Cold Cactus brand and set it apart.
Many small businesses rely heavily on various forms of social media for organic reach and marketing. Social media is challenging because of the ever-changing algorithms which impact your ability to engage with your followers. From day one, you should focus on creating a customer list that you have direct linkage with, such as email. This allows you to have a multi-faceted communication approach and ensures you are always able to connect and engage with your customers.
There are many more lessons that I have learned through my entrepreneur experience that I could elaborate on. Ultimately I would say that it is important to be constantly learning, evolving and improving. Ask for feedback continually and find ways to implement improvements. Avoid comparison – particularly your business beginning to someone else’s middle. Stay true to yourself and use your time to build and enhance your own business. Above all else, find joy in what you do, and never ever give up. Entrepreneurship and owning a small business takes time and effort, and everything worth having is worth working for.