Experience is a good teacher. If you could turn back time and start your business all over again, what would you do differently?
Adore Beauty founder Kate Morris spoke at the Above All Human conference in Melbourne, an event for innovators and entrepreneurs, about her tireless endeavour to become Australia’s first online beauty store.
She shared the essential lessons she’s learnt along the way and what she wishes she could have known before starting out.
“Every beauty brand I approached said no,” says Morris. “I still have the rejection fax from one of them. It is 14 pages and on the first page they told me my idea was so stupid I had offended them by even approaching them with my unworthy proposal.”
She was also “fabulously” rejected by Vogue Australia’s beauty editor, who told Morris: “Darling, if you were meant to be in Vogue, I’d already know about you.”
As well as these rejections, Morris says the market wasn’t ready for her concept but she remained steadfast in the belief that her product was what consumers would one day want.
After years of effort, she secured two tiny companies who come on board and the business started to grow.
Fast-forward to today and Morris says Adore Beauty has grown around 75-80%, with an approximate turnover of $14 million.
If she could go back to 1999, when she was just 21 and starting out on her startup journey, Morris would give her younger self three pieces of advice, she told StartupSmart in a recent podcast episode.
1. Be a bit braver
It’s important to do things that are a bit scary. Once I become aware I’m avoiding something because I’m afraid of it, I now turn around and walk straight into it – it’s a sign that hurdle is important and that it’s an area I need to grow in.
2. Prioritise networking
Start conversations with people who you don’t know and find out what they’re doing and what their challenges are. You might then get a chance to chat about your business. Alleviate the stress by thinking about networking as simply starting up a conversation. Put in the effort consistently because this is important for your business. You can’t outsource it: no one else is going to do it for you.
3. Get educated in finance
Ensure you have a practical understanding of how to put together budgets, financial models and forecasts, at least at a basic level so that you can monitor cash flow and your financial health.