More than four years ago, design duo, Alisa and Lysandra Fraser, 33, decided to walk away from their roles as police officers to pursue a career in interior designing. Not everyone has the courage to chase their dreams. But appearing on and winning success on The Block in 2013, gave the duo confidence to turn their dream into a reality.
The twins now operate an interior designing business, Alisa and Lysandra Interiors, in Adelaide. They offer expert advice on layout, product selections and placements including lighting, accessorising and property styling.
Taking that leap into small business wasn’t an easy process. Thankfully, the design duo had a mentor who they could bounce their ideas off to get the ball rolling. “Our Mum owned a business for 25 years. So she definitely knew a lot about business. If we didn’t know how to approach something, we knew we could trust her judgement,” says Alisa.
She adds, “The judges were very supportive of us and told us to make a career out of this,.” That’s when the duo handed their badges in and turned to interior designing. “Being a police officer is a very secure job. The money is always going to be there. But being on The Block gave us some courage to go for our dream,” says Lysandra.
They were thrown in the deep end starting out. “We had absolutely no idea about small business. All of the things that go in to running a business were unknown to us. If you aren’t born into a business, you aren’t going to know those things,” says the duo.
Looking back on their experience, Alisa and Lysandra stress the importance of finding a mentor. “You need to find someone who you can bounce ideas off. If you ever need advice on anything, you should be able to trust your mentor. It’s definitely a good thing to have,” Alisa advises.
Here are Alisa and Lysandra’s top 10 tips to running a successful small business.
1. Be passionate
It’s one thing to turn your business idea into a reality, but to maintain it, isn’t an easy task. It’s important that you are passionate and driven about your small business. In the end, it is those two things that will ultimately drive your business success.
2. Employing the right people
Having the right team behind you is the single most important thing to running a successful business. Whether it be your immediate staff members, a bookkeeper or a publicist, it’s all about employing the right people to help take your small business to the next level. They are a massive help to you and your business.
Make sure you have the right programs in place to make your life easier. For instance, ensuring that you have a competent bookkeeper who will set everything up for you, so you won’t have to stress about the things that you can outsource to the right people.
When running your own small business, there will be many ups and downs. It’s all about being adaptive to the situation that you will face as a small business owner. Not everything will fall into place the way you want. But by being flexible and open-minded to alternative solutions will ensure your small business gets the best out of a challenging situation.
5. Strategic planning
There are going to be times when you will be faced with immense competition. That is why it is crucial to constantly re-invent yourself. That way you will still be able to remain at the top of your game and ahead of the competition.
For us, being in a design business, means having to constantly innovate. We have to always come up with new ideas of how to be bigger and better. It’s easy to do what everyone else is doing. But you have to take that one step further by creating something unique and different.
7. Demonstrate your skills
If you are new to business, you are bound to be clueless at first! But the more you study and learn you will pick up new skills. These new skills will contribute to the success of your small business.
8. Social media
This is by far the biggest help for any small business. You have to be strategic with how you run all of your social media platforms. It’s important to be creative because that’s what gets you ahead of the game.
9. Be strong
As a small business owner, you will get knocked down because of the immense challenges that you will face. But it’s important to not have a thick skin. Embrace these challenges and pick yourself right up and move forward. It’s all about taking the good with the bad and turning it into a lesson.
It’s important to have realistic expectations in your small business. You have to make sure that every I is dotted and every T is crossed. But this can only be achieved by having realistic expectations of what’s ahead of you. Taking things one step at at time will ensure that every goal is being met successfully.
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