Today I met Santi in a buzzing coffee shop in Clapham, where she greeted me with a warm smile. Fresh, dynamic and fun, Santi started a business with her sister Mira, offering yoga classes to companies, with the mission to make employees healthier and employer happier - while they do traditional yoga (think mats, sweat and calories burnt), their USP is desk and chair yoga (no mats, change of clothes or showers needed). Their office yoga company is in its second year of business, and here is the new venture wisdom that Santi is sharing for us today.
1. Be more brazen
Putting yourself out there is super daunting, but there are ways to make it easier. You have to prove to strangers (and yourself!) that what you are selling is worth it, and it takes many tries before opportunities turn into real business. However, the flip side of this is that these people don’t know you. Strangers don’t know who you are, you say? Sounds pretty obvious to me. And it is! That’s where the trick is. While you wonder why people who don’t know you would do business with you, ask yourself: why wouldn’t they? You have plenty to give, and when you are bold about it, strangers recognise this as a strength. They do not see the self-doubt and the holes that you see in your CV. As you keep putting yourself out there and meeting people, you will find customers interested in your journey. Don’t let self-doubt and caution slow your progress: if you know where you lack experience and skill, your customers do not. All they see is your energy, your boldness, and what you have to offer to them today. Go for it!
2. Keep chasing
Starting a business sometimes means a lot of cold (or warm) calling. A lot of emails to potentially interested contacts, a lot of phone calls to leads and prospects. And not a lot of replies! But that’s ok. Until you receive a clear “stop chasing me!!” type of response, keep going! There are so many reasons why people don’t get back to your emails and calls: maybe they are super busy juggling two jobs right now, maybe they have a huge deadline, maybe they are interested but have lost your first email… Santi has had opportunities turn into a client up to a year after she first contacted them, just when she had decided that this was her last email. It turns out the lady in question was completely overwhelmed with work, but was very much interested! There’s literally nothing to lose with this approach. Worst case scenario: people tell you they are not interested. At least you know to keep them out of your tracker, and you can focus on other potential clients!
3. Good things come to those who… stay positive
Santi believes firmly in the idea that things do work out when you keep a positive outlook on life. Yes, there are and will be obstacles along the way, especially when you launch a new business and take the risks that go along with it, but a lot of good things will happen too. And it often happens when you least expect it! Santi and Mira found one of their first clients through a friend they met at a completely unrelated event. They weren’t meant to attend, but as Santi’s computer broke down and she couldn’t work as a result (booh!), she was free to go and meet this new contact (yay!).
Santi and Mira offer their services to companies in and around London, and you can find all the info (and book a taster session for your company) on their website: http://pathak-yoga.com/