Olivia Scott’s business toolkit
The Raw Kitchen’s Olivia Scott was at university when she started selling raw cakes online and at a weekend market. Today, the 24-year-old has a busy café, her own cookbook, and a whole lot of advice to share with budding entrepreneurs. So, what are the ingredients of a successful business? Here’s Olivia’s recipe
A GUT FEELING
The most important thing when starting your business is feeling positive about your idea. You can’t predict how things will turn out, and it’s absolutely a risk to get started, but deep down, you should know whether your idea is going to be successful.
A CLEAR VISION
Ask yourself, how does this business work? What is your point of difference? Why are people going to choose you? How are you going to sell this product or service in the marketplace? You must know, or have an idea of what your business and brand is going to look and feel like. Who will your customers be? Who will your suppliers be? Writing all this down, and knowing your margins and the realistic costs involved is important before getting started to avoid any unexpected surprises.
In the early stages of The Raw Kitchen, I was studying full time and working part time. I had a small amount of Studylink money coming in each week and a little bit from my job, and whatever was left over from paying my rent and groceries went into my business. It was always a stretch — I was lucky that a local café lent me their kitchen at night in exchange for a jar of bliss balls a week — but after six months of putting everything I earned back into the business, I was able to upgrade my kitchen equipment and rent a bigger space. In an ideal world, it might have been easier to take out a loan from the bank, find an investor or ask a family member for financial help, however you learn a lot about prioritising and budgeting when you have very little money to work with.
SHORT- AND LONG-TERM GOALS
Short-term goals act as realistic stepping stones that ultimately steer you towards your vision. I find that having weekly and monthly objectives that I can tick off as I go helps me to feel like I am making quick progress towards my long-term goals. A short-term goal might be as simple as taking on three new clients that month.
A SUPPORT SYSTEM
Have a backup support crew to cheer you on when the going gets tough. They don’t necessarily need to understand your vision, but should be there to share your thoughts and troubles with.
The saying ‘fake it ’til you make it’ rings true in business. You really have to be the person you aspire to be, in order to become it. Trust that you have what it takes to get there, and that nothing and nobody will stop you.
A PHILOSOPHICAL ATTITUDE
I’m a firm believer that if you work hard, you will be rewarded. Sometimes things don’t go to plan but trust the process and know that even if you don’t see it yet, good things are coming to you.
A FRESH PERSPECTIVE
Roadblocks should be treated as opportunities. Whether it’s a big sale you are trying to get across the line, or a major project you are invested in, if it’s not flowing, take a step back. You might find yourself steered in a different direction that will lead you to an even bigger and better result.
Work/life balance is essential. In the early stages of starting a business it’s very easy to dive right in and not surface for a good six months, but you’ll likely come out the other side needing some serious time out. A bit of dedicated ‘you-time’ makes for a more sustainable relationship with the business, and you’ll always see things more clearly when you’re not caught up in the details of your day-to-day hustle. Similarly, when you feel inundated with admin or your new website, taking on extra work is impossible. You can only expand your business if you allow yourself space to do so.
AN AMAZING TEAM
When you get to the point of needing a small crew to help your thriving business, find people that you can invest in long term. Think, will they be able to help me achieve the short-term goals and execute the vision that I so strongly believe in? Will they be inspired to stay with me for two years, not just six months? Hiring the right people allows you to focus your energies into what you are good at and enjoy. Remember you don’t need to be a superhuman and do everything on your own — have a super-team instead!