Growing Pains of a Small Business – Part 1
When I started my Little Punk London venture I always had an ambitious plan for the brand – rapid growth and an international presence were (and still are) my goals. However, most of my friends and family had much more modest expectations and I think were quite sceptical of my plans for global domination of the children’s t-shirt market!
Time will tell as to whether we achieve all of our ambitions and the next 12 months are critical, but, so far so good… In terms of brand awareness we’re punching well above our weight as a new business in a fiercely competitive market and there’s fervent interest in our unique stick on t-shirts from buyers, the media and a growing celebrity following. So we are doing something right and, aside from having a great product, I believe the key is to think and act big from the outset.
I once had motorbike lessons, an intense course over a week culminating in taking your test followed by driving off into the sunset on two wheels… through that I learnt from bitter experience that you end up going in the direction you are looking – in my case the curb, hedge, ditch etc. Needless to say my instructor didn’t even allow me to take my test as he felt I was a danger to myself and other road users. But the point is this, if you expect to succeed and aim high you stand a far better chance of getting there… hence why we instil in our children a “you can do it” attitude. It is hard when you are small and doing things for the first time to look and play like the big boys (and I have certainly made a few gaffs along the way) but everyone was small/new once and being fearless, determined and focused on your goal goes a long way to giving the competitive edge needed to get to the top.
Being boldly ambitious and expecting success is not the cultural norm of the British, and the psychology graduate in me has often wondered to what extent the modesty/inherent reserve that runs through this country like a stick of rock contributes to our ongoing economic struggle back to growth. This is not something our American friends suffer from and I am certain that this cultural difference is economically significant. I would encourage Government to invest a small amount of funding to properly research this cultural variable because it is not until you shine a light on a subject that you see its true form and potential. Who knows where that might take us in terms of policy and programmes of support… maybe we could all be issued with a business start up coach whose job is to motivate, support and encourage entrepreneurs as well as point them in the right direction for information and advice ? I know I’d sign up instantly but hopefully by then we’ll be Little Punk London, Paris, New York, Milan…
Helen Keenan launched Little Punk London children’s clothing label in November 2012.