By Caitlin D'Aprano
My experience with business, and life in general has always been, whatever I imagine, the opportunity appears in my reality. When you hear those random thoughts, like: "Wouldn't it be cool to do a collaboration with Google?", listen and become adamant about achieving it.
That is why having vision for business, weather you're starting out or are a pre-existing business, is extremely important. Having vision means that you already have the idea in your conscious mind, so when the opportunity appears, you have the ability to see it.
In 2010 I booked a one-way ticket to London from Melbourne, Australia. I was moving to London, the fashion centre of the world, to fulfill my dreams of working as a buyer in luxury fashion and to start my shoe and accessories business.
The shoe industry is one of the most difficult industries to start a business in, for the pure fact that you need 8-10 different components to create a shoe. Everyone told me that I couldn't do it.
For 18 months, I took 7 trips to Italy with the belief that I would eventually meet someone who wanted to help me create my first shoe design.
On the 7th trip, I was taking my flight back to London. The Italians were hard nuts to crack. I was finding it difficult to find a factory who wanted to work with a small business like mine. I felt a little disheartened, wondering if my dreams were ever going to come in to fruition.
I struck up a conversation with the guy sitting next to me. His name was Andy. I can't remember what I said that made him laugh, but he seemed to be having a good time chatting to me. It turned out that he was the head designer at a shoe factory in Spain. Our plane landed and we exchanged details.
A few weeks later, I found out that I had been accepted to BBC3's reality entrepreneurial program "Be Your Own Boss" But damn, I didn't have a product yet. There was the opportunity to ask Andy to make our first prototype and an excuse to have it done right away. So I asked.
Those days waiting for a reply were grueling and nerve wracking. What if he said no? What would I do? So I did what I always do when I feel scarce. I started putting together a list of other options. Until I received the email:
Yes we can do it for you but we need a last and a heel.
I had spent 18 months prior gathering the components for my shoe design and creating relationships with guess who? Last and heel suppliers. So I contacted them, got the heel and the last made and voila! My first shoe was in physical form.
Whenever you feel like giving up, that means that you're ever so close to achieving the next step, so keep going.