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One of the most fun things in the world is to start a business. There is nothing more rewarding than challenging yourself and bringing your idea to life. Seeing my own 7-year-old daughter start her own business selling the eggs from our backyard chickens has confirmed this for me.
At our home we have five chickens fondly named “The Rubys.” My daughter was eager to experiment with entrepreneurship and realized that at one egg a day from each chicken, we had more eggs than we could ever need. She made a plan to sell the extra eggs in half dozen and dozen packages to our neighbors.
I’m proud to say that she sold out for the year in two hours. Her success got me thinking — what lessons from this can I apply to my own entrepreneurship and leadership?
1. Jump boots first into the puddle
One of the best pieces of advice I have ever received in business is to start before you’re ready. Everyone was once a beginner, and there really is no better way to learn than by simply doing. When we challenge ourselves to learn and grow outside of our comfort zones great things can happen. Get your boots dirty and jump into work!
It’s okay to do the work before you know what every step down the road will bring. I can guarantee that absolutely no one has it all figured out, and the only way to fast track that learning and growth is to simply get started.
One of the big lessons I’ve learned in my career is that pivoting is okay. Trying a new tack or approaching from a different angle is not a bad thing, and will only help you in the long run.
2. Don’t be afraid to take on different roles
While always relevant, in the early days of a venture, leaders simply can’t be afraid to take on different roles. At the beginning of DOZR, our leadership team was getting their hands dirty doing whatever is needed — and we’re certainly not the only founders to take on several roles.
In her egg selling business, my daughter took on marketing, sales, delivery, customer service and animal care. There is a lot to be said for hiring people who can fill gaps in the areas where you may lack, and I’m certainly not suggesting that you run a scaling business on your own. However, getting in on the ground level is extremely beneficial. Gaining insight into different roles and departments can give you an entirely new perspective on your business from the inside out.
3. Keep your messaging simple
It’s easy to get convoluted in messaging. And that’s fair — you’re excited about your business! But consumers are busy. Keep your messaging easy to read and to the point. Articulate what you’re providing to the customer and why you’re the best at it.
My daughter’s marketing message, while basic, is effective in that it focuses on the outcome. She picked her platform and shared her offer.
“Hi, my name is Maggie and I have five chickens. Their names are Ruby #1, Ruby #2, Ruby #3, Ruby #4 and Ruby #5. The Rubys each lay one egg per day. They are free range, organic and delicious. We have 18 extra eggs available for purchase each week. Six eggs for $3.50 or 12 eggs for $6.00.”
4. Customer service matters
Customer service is imperative to success. Happy clients can result in so many positives for a brand: referrals, recommendations, reputation building, repeat business. Learn what your customers need and figure out how to provide that to them.
My 7-year-old daughter considered how her customers would get their eggs. She provided two options free of charge: curbside pickup and after school bike delivery. After her initial success, neighbors were requesting alternating delivery schedules to share in the supply.
5. Take care of your team
Perhaps one of the most important lessons learned, both in business and life, is to take care of your team. The Rubys are imperative to my daughter’s success, but they require consistent care and upkeep. The effort in excellent care pays dividends in the long run.
Happy employees make for successful organizations. Numerous studies prove that happy employees are productive employees, even evidence that companies recognized for their employee happiness show greater financial success.
Above all, never forget to keep the fun in business. To me, there is simply no better way to challenge yourself and put your creativity and problem solving skills to the test than starting a business. By capturing that fun, there is no limit to what you can achieve.
Starting the egg selling business enhanced my daughter’s financial literacy, helped her build confidence and gave her real life customer service experience, among the numerous tiny life lessons she accrued along the way. If she learned these valuable skills through selling eggs for $3.50, imagine what you can learn through your business. Above all, a child’s willingness to learn and readiness to never be the smartest person in the room, is a business lesson in itself — and one that’s worth listening to.