More than 600,000 new businesses launched in the UK last year. But the road to start-up success is far from simple.
To celebrate International Women’s Day, business-savvy PROPERCORN co-founder Cassandra Stavrou, 32, explains what it takes to make it when starting out.
Start with ‘why?’
Set out with a clear reason as to why you’re doing this and the principles you’re unwilling to compromise on – these will get tested along the way, so real clarity and conviction is hugely important. Done Properly- our ethos of making everything the best it can possibly be – is a filter that we put every decision through.
It sounds obvious but draw up a business plan, which considers what a successful year would look like. It will constantly evolve but having goals to measure yourself against will keep you in check.
No matter how excited you are about an idea, assume people will be indifferent to it; this should inspire and challenge you to create.
Strive to be recognised as a successful person rather than a successful woman – I love the idea of the recognition being gender blind.
If making popcorn is a little thing, doing it well is a big thing. I’m under no illusions that we’re saving lives but it’s still our responsibility to make everything we create the best it can possibly be.
Seek inspiration outside of your immediate industry. We’ll often be influenced by a visit to an exhibition or new clothing collection. If you only look inwards you’ll remain staid.
Don’t dither or be risk adverse. Everyone has brilliant ideas but this is only 10%; the success lies in the execution. Doubt can often be your biggest demon.
It can be difficult to command respect when you’re starting out. As a young girl, with no proven track record, it was difficult to get people to take me seriously. If you’re passionate enough about what you’re trying to achieve though, this won’t dissuade you.
This is a vital ingredient for success. When I first started making our popcorn, I couldn’t find a way to get the seasoning right. I ended up using a cement mixer and we still use this method today, albeit on a slightly more sophisticated scale!
Design and aesthetics shouldn’t just be seen as window dressing. They are essential and powerful tools that can help you overcome commercial challenges. Our colourful cases are great example of this. Whilst on the simplest level we designed them to look beautiful, they also ensure sure that we aren’t forgotten in the stock room or missed on the shelf edge.
Uncompromisingly seek out brilliant people for your team, who are passionate and fully share your vision. The people at PROPERCORN are the thing I’ve been most proud of in the last four years.
For more about Cassandra read our Career Inspiration interview with her here.