Turning a business dream into a reality

For many people the idea of starting their own business is the stuff of dreams, alternate realities we go to when our day-to-day lives become boring, stressful or monotonous. But for others those dreamt-up business ideas start to be more than just an over-active imagination and suddenly become something you’re passionate about launching and believe you can make a success.

We launched BuildMyGift.com, a luxury gift box company, in November 2017 after our business dream finally became a reality. It had been months of ‘what-ifs’, ‘could we’ and ‘would it work’ conversations, before we finally took the plunge and the last six months have been a whirlwind of highs and lows.

We are still very much in our infancy, but that means we are in the perfect place to share our top tips for turning a dream into a reality – as finally we are living ours.

  1. Be ambitious, but be realistic – easier said than done when most entrepreneurs are natural big thinkers, but ultimately you need to walk before you can run. Everyone wants their business to be hugely successful (no matter how you measure success), but it won’t happen overnight. Consider all of the milestones you need to reach before hitting that big success marker and work towards those individually.
  2. Know your audience – yes you may think your business idea is fantastic and unique, but does your audience? As a start-up business you may not have the resources for in-depth consumer research, so my advice would be to ask everyone what they think and tell them to be brutally honest. Ask you parents, your friends, former colleagues, the postman, do polls on social media – anything it takes to get this vital feedback. But remember asking just isn’t enough, you need to listen to their feedback and act on it! You will have a vision for what you want your business to be, but if this doesn’t align with the needs of your audience then you need to look at how you can change things.
  3. Celebrate the successes – setting up your own business, especially if you’re still working other jobs, can mean long hours, late nights and busy weekends, so you’re often so wrapped up in the day-to-day that you don’t have time to step back and celebrate how far you’ve come. When setting up BuildMyGift.com we had certain milestones in mind, from selling our 100th box to getting our product on TV, which we managed to achieve in the first few months, so we made sure that we stepped away from our emails, put down our to-do lists and celebrated what we’ve achieved so far.
  4. Reflect and learn – not everything will go right first time and you make mistakes, but that’s OK, as long as you learn from them. Every time something hasn’t gone right don’t beat yourself up about the failings, simply examine what could be done differently in the future. You won’t make the same mistake again and it may change the way you approach certain parts of your business going forward.
  5. Stay focused – again if you’re a natural entrepreneur you’ll always be looking for the next way to expand your business, but it’s important, especially in the first six months, to stay focused on the task at hand. That’s not to say you shouldn’t plan for the future; make lists, set goals, write down your future objectives, but make sure it doesn’t distract you from the here and now.
  6. Work hard – seems obvious doesn’t it? But we have never worked harder than the time in-between dreaming up BuildMyGift.com and making it a reality – the expression blood, sweat and tears suddenly becomes very real when setting up your own business. However, the hard work is all very much worth it when you see your goals being reached and your business becoming a success. One of the most rewarding things for us is to hear customer feedback. We know our business can be a success as our audience has trialled it and love it.
  7. Ask for help – finally, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Whether that’s advice and guidance from someone who has done it before, man-power to simply help you pack boxes or expert advice on things such as marketing and building a website. You can’t do it all, even if you wanted to, so accept the help that is offered to you, identify areas where you need the support and enlist the right people for the job. There is so much support out there for new businesses, so make the most of it.
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