Guest blog by Nikki Collier, Business Owner
Having come through the worst year of my life – in business – I’ve sat and wondered – how did I survive?
How did I meet with adversity yet stay strong ? And my goodness – now the owner of two brick & mortar stores and an online store – how did I grow so fast coming out of a pandemic ?
In May 2019 I opened up my first physical kids clothing Boutique in Essex. I was confident and excited and within the first few months I knew – my concept of selling high end clothes and gifts at affordable prices, was working.
I put my heart and soul into every inch of it, never taking time off, never seeking support. I went for it like a bull in a China shop ! It was my baby!
But then came the pandemic…
I didn’t sit still. I moved the whole shop online. Weeks of photo taking, uploading, teaching my self all about algorithms and social media – and yet I was still doing it alone.
As we came out of the worst of it in April this year my energy levels were low, my enthusiasm was wanting, I had done too much ALONE! Was my ego that big that I couldn’t let anyone in? Was I scared if I let go I would lose it – what ever the reason I had to learn to let go and get help in running my business.
Finding the right people
Finding the right people to fit any business is not easy but finding the ‘right fit’ for a small independent is even harder. Any small business needs people that ‘truly’ understand your mission and values and that can add value – daily – even with the smallest of ideas. They also need to understand you! Understand that this is your baby and treat it as if it were their own – with the love and care it needs.
When the staff just fit!
Once you have the right people in place next comes the delegation. How do you delegate when you’ve controlled every aspect of its conception to delivery and growth.
Having like minded people around you will help. Asking and delegating tasks will become holistic. You will soon start to see people’s skills and what they are best at doing.
Allow them to show you what they can do, allow them the space to come up with new ideas – this is not easy in a small business I know, buts it’s vitally important to also understand who they are – there is no point in employing them if you’re not prepared to let go!
So you have the right people, they know you, you know them and you’re delegating daily tasks – but is it adding value across your business? Are you truly letting go to get the best out of your staff?
Time… time is needed to assess. Reflection is needed, perhaps even daily. Did today go well for us? What went right, what went wrong – with the right people in place no conversation should be difficult.
I have learnt to let go! I have learnt that having support and an open dialogue business model – no silly question or answer – has given me the strength to grow both personally and in my business.
Without letting go of ‘my baby’ I know I wouldn’t have three babies and god willing four next year! Another store on its way! Without letting go I would not be growing so fast!
To delegate is not just about delegating tasks in a business it’s about giving yourself to others to help you grow!
Nikki is a business owner of an Award Winning Independent Store offering an eclectic mix of trends for babies & children’s as well as an Inspirational leader, with over 20 years experience of further education and skills training.
She has a long history of running her own businesses, so has an extensive understanding of combining technical vocational education with business acumen, ensuring company/institution growth and co-investment with industry.