Startup DiariesSyndicate content

Britt Hogue talks to The NextWomen about how she learned to pivot her business modelBritt Hogue talks to The NextWomen about the surprising circumstances in which she was taught to pivot her business model.

Since I left the corporate world to design and implement organizational strategies for non-profits, I’ve sometimes found it difficult to separate my personal life from my work. I imagine that’s what happens when you indulge a passion and find a way to blend it with something you’re good at; marrying your personal and professional motivations into a full-time business initiative. Still, I’ve always been careful about sharing too much of my personal story at work, so I am cringing as I write this article.

Despite all of that, sharing the good, the bad, and the ugly is the very nature of the Startup Diaries, so I embrace my discomfort as I impart how my ex taught me how to pivot my business model.

We all have things that we've learned from our exes - most of which fall into the category of: Things I'll Never Do Again. Believe it or not, I learned the art of the pivot from one of my ex-boyfriends back in 2005 - long before pivoting had become the hottest trend in business strategy and the "P" word was rolling off the tongues of everyone from Eric Ries to President Obama. I think I counted it used 22 times on MSNBC's ‘Morning Joe’ a few weeks ago. Fast Company even ruled Detroit’s bankruptcy filing as a well-manoeuvred pivot. And even as I'm hearing it all around me as the new must-do in business, I don't think I would have been as willing to consider a fairly drastic change to my own startup had I not witnessed it up close and personal almost a decade ago.

Misty Gibbs, creator of the Hype This Track appMisty Gibbs talks to The NextWomen about the inspiration for starting her own business and the creation of her app Hype This Track. 

I’ve always loved businesses. I love the idea of coming up with an idea and researching and refining it until you’ve created something you are proud of, and that the world can enjoy.

My first ever business plan was at age five. I decided I was going to make and sell those colorful candy-coated spinning top bubblegum. I remember working out how much I’d sell them for (five for 5c.) and writing a list of things I needed. The list was:

1. The recipe

2. An adult to help me with the oven… I just assumed you had to bake them!

I knew it would be hard finding the recipe, and thought I might have to wait until I was older before I’d ever know. This was all before Google of course. For some reason, I’ve never ever looked up the recipe. I guess I want it to stay that elusive five-year-old dream!

Leah Goold-Haws with Lawrence Umukoro, Head of entrepreneurship training in South Africa Leah Goold-Haws tells The NextWomen how putting her intentions ‘out there’ has brought her some amazing opportunities.

As I mentioned in my previous post (which you can read here) my initial entrepreneurial ventures – running my marketing firm LGH Marketing / Strategy and launching my board game, Know Opportunity – have taken me well beyond my initial expectations.

I continue to be amazed and grateful for the unique opportunities that are presented to me along the way. Most recently among these was the offer to participate in a TEDx conference as one of the presenters. My topic was on global connectivity in the 5 minute format. It was an exciting challenge and I was able to describe many of the experiences I’ve shared here on The NextWomen.

Aaradhee Mehta runs her business from her home in IndiaAaradhee Mehta tells The NextWomen about starting up her business BUYSTORIES from her Mumbai house, and shares her top tips on handling working from home.

When I started off on my own and announced that my office would be in my house, people often told me how difficult it would be to work from home, for the following reasons:

It takes discipline to work from home. I am still given that kind of feedback when I tell someone I took a short nap this afternoon. But, I start my day early; I enjoy my 6am green tea, get to work by 6:30am and try and arrange client meetings for the afternoon so as to not miss my 6 to 12 work hours.

Mavis Amankwah, Owner of Rich Visions Diversity CommunicationsMavis Amankwah, an award-winning multiple business owner, is no stranger to the struggles of life and business. Here she shares her personal journey along with 10 practical steps on how to overcome adversity.

I was born and raised in Canning Town, east London, a tough borough which in the 70's was extremely racist. As a young black girl, I was bullied and received racial abuse on a daily basis from other kids my age. Even in school, one of my teachers told me that I’d “never amount to anything”. My only real comfort was my mother who also had to adjust to becoming a single parent after my father walked out on us. My resolve was also hardened through having suffered traumatic childhood experiences – too much to go into here - sufficeit  to say, as clichéd as it may sound, these situations made me stronger.

Trinkets founders Genevieve Murphy and Kate BarryA chance event led Genevieve Murphy and Kate Barry to be approached by high profile angel investor William Reeve. The two Founders of Trinkets tell The NextWomen what impact he has had on their business and share their 7 tips for those seeking an angel investor. 

Our first encounter with William Reeve stems from a great story about being in the right place at the right time. I was attending a free marketing week put on by Start Up Britain and during questions they encouraged the audience to state their name and company as the entire week was being streamed online. On the last day, I asked a question and a business friend of Williams was watching and went on to Google Trinkets. Discovering it was a subscription based business, she forwarded it to William and he got in contact with us.  

Lia and Margaret at SnailsIn Jeanette Sklivanou’s second post for The NextWomen, she discusses the impact of austerity in Greece, with particular reference to how the plight of unemployed women with children has helped inform her hiring strategy.

Recently I watched a BBC television programme featuring celebrity chefs who briefly share the lives of families getting by on poverty-level wages. They try to help the hard-pressed households with advice on cooking nutritious meals with very little money. It made for disheartening viewing.

Francesca Armstrong, Development and Operations Director of ConnocoFrankie Armstrong tells us about her move away from her first passion - fashion - and explains the non-hierarchical leadership approach which she applies to her hospitality business Conoco.

I started my career working in fashion, after studying at Central St Martin’s and Kingston University. From a young age I have loved fashion in the way that it can make you feel, look and be.

It was in my final year at university whilst putting together my own collection/business that I realised what I really excelled at and enjoyed was the elements behind the clothes and the business behind great brands.

For me, looking at the commercial viability of a product and implementing efficient processes was a real strong point. Although fashion and design was what I had always thought I wanted to do,

I had never really explored using the fundamental skills I had gained from years of focused creative thinking and problem solving to excel in other areas.

It was these elements and skills that I was subconsciously bringing to Connoco - the business that my partner Tim and I had already started up, and it got to the point where what we were doing within hospitality and music really started taking off. It then came to making a decision to come away from what I was doing in fashion and to really focus and develop Connoco.

Simona Scotto, Founder of Counterpoint DanceAfter taking up ballet at the ripe old age of 19, Simona Scotto formed her own dance company three years ago as a way to challenge society’s perception of ageing.

Born in Sardinia, Italy, Simona Scotto came to London just over 20 years ago to study and become a professional dancer.  During the past six years she has been working for Sadler’s Wells Theatre where she became inspired by teaching and choreographing for the resident older people’s company.

Three years ago she formed her own dance company for the over 55's thanks to a BBC documentary by Alan Yentob featuring dance for older people and that became Counterpoint Dance.

Paola Fiocchi Van den Brande, Founder of online members only travel club Passepartout Homes Ltd, explains how launching her own business was the answer she was looking for in terms of balancing her work and family life, and shares some of the lessons she has learned along the way.

I’ve come a long way. Since launching my business in December 2012 and concentrating on it full time since April 2013, I’ve come a long way. The site, Passepartout Homes, started with just 5 properties; it now offers over 60 fine holiday rental villas around the globe.

I have learnt to cover everything from web design, copywriting, marketing, PR, advertising, accounting, solving IT issues, understanding social media (and trying not to waste too much time updating my posts), researching the market, writing a blog and more.

I also discovered along the way that to be picked up by the press you have to buy your way in. Who would have imagined? I thought you just had to be good looking and interesting to grab the attention of journalists and bloggers. I have had some nice press coverage though. Most recently I have been interviewed by A Luxury Travel Blog and a couple of our properties have been mentioned by this very well respected travel site as among the best places to stay.