Sarah and I didn’t know it then, but this whole small business adventure we were about to embark on was going to be full of ups, downs, and to be honest failures. I think I still have a major fail at least once a week. And that’s when things are going well. Success Squad like all other ideas was just a jumble of words on paper until the idea was put out into the world.
We are often asked by hesitant small business owners how to get started. In short, just do it. Don’t be afraid of it working, not working, taking time to take off or being an instant success. What you are doing now, the keeping it to yourself and not sharing your idea with someone is, well, selfish. The most important step you can take is to start. We were not sure exactly what Success Squad was going to be. Sure there was an outline, we had dedicated time and energy to decide upon structure, timing, and subject matter, but beyond that until we started it was just an idea frozen in time. When we sought out people to invite we thought about the diverse and wonderful community of people in San Francisco and who we thought might be interested, curious, a reliable participant, and offer something unique to the group.
We finally knew we were onto something when at a meeting for the soon to be opened Makeshift Society Sarah asked if the space could be used to hold our meetings. After the presentation a whole group of women introduced themselves to Sarah and me and before we knew it we had not only one, but 2 Success Squad groups.
In retrospect it sounds a lot more organic that it was. We planned, and planned, researched and packaged the idea up in a pretty bow; all important factors when asking others to join forces and be enthusiastic about your idea. Here’s a round up of some of our tips to help you get people on board.
- Be excited. This is probably the most important. No one wants to be a part of something that the creator can’t sell themselves. Is it hard to talk about your idea? Hells yeah, but get over it and get over it quickly. Practice your pitch on friends, family and your dog. Then practice some more. Get it right until your passion shines through. Your passion is what’s going to make people take time out of their lives to join you on your crusade.
- Do your research. If your passion pushes you in a direction that might be a little unfamiliar to you, bone up on some skills. Read, ask questions, and round up some knowledge. You do not need to go get a PhD, not even close, but when presenting a new idea to others know your info so you can answer their questions.
- Make a dream team. Sarah and I still do this. Full disclosure we each have a list of people who inspire us that we want to connect with. Think about who you would ideally like to have on board and invite them! The worst that they say is no and maybe that will happen, but you will survive it. At the least, right there you made a great introduction by saying, “hey I think you are super interesting and want you to be a part of this.” If nothing else you have gotten their attention.
- Present it pretty. Whether your thing is Helvetica or super fancy cursive, brand the heck outta this thing! Pull your idea together with some nice design, even if it is basic, keep your message cohesive, and give it some personality. Make your invitation to participate look well thought out and inviting. Give it a little glam and a personal touch that people will respond to.
And most important, JUST START ALREADY!
Let us know what you have been working on. We specialize in some serious cheerleading. Full disclosure I actually was one for a brief stint in High School. Now you know.
Lisa Anderson Shaffer is a blogger, maker, mover and shaker. Owner, designer, and maker behind Zelma Rose, Lisa designs and creates a classic collection of handcrafted accessories for men and women. Zelma Rose has been featured internationally in publications like Martha Stewart Living, GQ, Refinery 29, Uppercase Magazine, The San Francisco Chronicle and other fine publications. As a blogger, Lisa regularly contributes to Let’s Neighbor, Bing, Rena Tom, and Indiemade. As a licensed psychotherapist, she has a not so secret passion for psychology and consults with small businesses as a communications strategist helping freelancers and small business owners implement stellar customer service and staff management.
Sarah Deragon was born in Denver, CO and now lives in San Francisco, CA. As far back as she can remember, she’s loved taking photographs. Just ask her mom—she calls Sarah the family’s documentarian. Sarah is constantly inspired by San Francisco and thrives on the undercurrent of creativity in the city and the people who work so hard to live here and make it such a dynamic place. Her photography has been featured internationally in publications like Martha Stewart Living, Daily Candy, Pure Wow, San Francisco Magazine, and on the best looking resumes and dating profiles all over San Francisco.
Lisa and Sarah met at Renegade Craft fair in 2010, immediately shared an obsession of 90’s hip hop, and have been working together ever since.