Story Tuesday: New Light
As an entrepreneur, you need to be your biggest fan and motivator. Indeed, sometimes it is hard to stay motivated, especially after facing failure. Zig Ziglar said, “People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.” Always keep yourself motivated to reach your goal because no one else is responsible to do it for you.
Part 10: New Light
In January 2018 the year started off on a good note with political cases in high demand. Municipal elections were coming up and loyalists were demanding their red and blue cases more than we were able to handle. Many of them were sold in the first two months of the year and much advertising wasn’t necessary then, but we realized we didn’t to create our own excitement for the cases to be sold.
We decided to make a collage template for Mother’s day so that customers could easily submit their pictures and we align the pictures into the collage. A lot of people liked the idea of having the collage because not everyone can decide on only one picture. This was something we wanted to do more of but it wasn’t possible at that time. We did pick up a very helpful habit.
We began posting other young people’s start ups. We started to share posts for Hello Body Belize, The Candle Shop, Naturally Belizean, Soby’s Sweet Treats, and LG jewelry. The collab was to help these businesses get more attention on their pages by sharing their posts, doing giveaways together and recommending them to customers. We promoted their sales, events, and giveaways. We worked so much together that year that we because friends with the business owners and still promote their products. The goal was to continue adding more businesses to the group but so far we haven’t really been pushing for more brands.
After creating the collab with other businesses, it occurred to us that establishing brand Ambassadors would have been a good marketing strategy. Armando had me work on a proposal for the project but I never finished it so that was left untouched (Read part 11 for more on our Brand Ambassadors Program) for the rest of the year.
In June we were part of the Coastal Zone Management Authority and Institute’s (CZMAI) 20th Anniversary celebration. The celebration was so big, Oceana and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) were also partners. Each of the organizations designed their own case design and were put on wooden case that we were tasked to provide in honor of the anniversary. This collaboration to use to a whole new level; it should how much we had grown and how much respect others had simply by acknowledging us as an established business. All three organization assisted in promoting the sales of the cases and the profits from the sales from the CZMAI designed cases would go towards a scholarship fund for students studying Natural Resource Management. We took the cases as far south as Placencia at their lobster fest, as west as San Ignacio and they even made it to Caye Caulker.
When school was closed for the summer, Armando had the bright idea to hire “employees” for a job job. These “employees” were going to be answering the phone, answering whatsapp messages, Facebook and instagram messages, and even creating collages and previews for customers. These “employees” were our sister, Alicia, and our cousins Joshua McGill and Ashley Carias. For them to be able to take us serious, I planned a training session where they learnt how to create previews in Photoshop, as well as learn how to navigate inside our Facebook business page. I even did a training to teach them to answer the phone properly. I had Kimberly, Erwin and Aldo call in and pretend to be real customers asking questions, they were nervous and freaked out and failed that call, but with time they gained courage. Normally, the summer months would be very slow and would pick up again during September when people wanted patriot designs for their cases. This time, with the help of many hands, the summer months were the higher in sales they had ever been. So when September came along and Armando went back to be a one-man show again, it was difficult for him to adjust to the shortage of support.Armando came up with this idea of the summer employees because he had come across another book, this time the book was from the very flamboyant real estate and serial entrepreneur, Grant Cardone. Armando because very captivated by his philosophies and principles of doing business. He began getting every book he could afford to get his hands on and started to consume the material from the moment he woke up to the moment he fell asleep. He would listen to the books over and over to the point that by the time I actually listened to the books myself, I had been familiar with much of the material from second hand listening. The book gave Armando a lot of courage and insight on how to plan and organize and to set goals. The book was the inspiration for our first e-gaming tournament.
Armando had ordered some gaming accessories called triggers that when placed on your phone, would emulate the triggers or a console’s remote. When they arrived, we sat one evening trying to brainstorm ways of how to market the new product. That was when it occurred to us to host a PUBG Mobile tournament. Initially we wanted to do the tournament inside the September Expo since we already had plans to be at that even. But realizing that it would be difficult to get players from all over the country to show up at the Expo just for the tournament, we decided to host it in October with all players playing from the comfort of their own homes. The idea was quickly accepted by gamers of all ages. We hosted may “open rooms” that allowed for Belizean players to practice playing against other Belizeans leading up to the official tournament. When the tournament happened, it was just the two of us managing the scores, talking as commentators and moderating the event. The event was our marketing idea for the triggers and it was one of the smartest ideas we came up with. With our confidence very high, we decided to do what we had dreamed of for years; get our own space for the business.
We had a part of the ground floor of our house rented and when the tenants moved out we took it as a sign to move in. We packed up all our stuff and moved into our own official space. The place needed a lot of work and we didn’t have enough to equipment but it worked for a few weeks until Armando again decided to test our limits. He told me he was going to hire people. I said sure that would be beneficial since we had proof that the business would do much better with the help of more people. And as promised, I got home one November evening to be told that two people had already been hired. Those two people quickly turned into four full time employees and four part time employees by December. The workload was enormous. Order after order came in and the even with the amount of extra hands around, we would stop answering messages at 9pm and still leave a lot of unanswered messages. ALL does extra hands helped to make our December sales the highest it had ever been in the last four years.
What was the real reason for the big rush of getting employees? Find our next week as we venture into 2019.