Teething problems of a new business

To say that we’ve had a few “teething problems” running CW-X SA, our small business, would be a massive understatement. The definition of teething problems is: “short term problems at the early stages of a project.”

The night we signed the contract & loaded KK’s car full of stock. We were officially the owners of our own business!

I bet if you asked any mother to describe her child’s teething, she would mention the drooling, the irritability, the niggles, the loss of appetite, the red gums, the chewing of fingers and toys. Yeah, sounds familiar to us.

The teeth cut so far have been for the following reasons:

  • Delays in getting our payment platform up and running. And I’m talking months, not weeks!
  • Our stock was delayed at customs and then audited by SARS. Fluke, I swear!
  • Commitment from buyers but the orders don’t come through. Everyone promises to go buy, but then … don’t.
  • Orders for stock we didn’t think people would be interested in. Funky colours are not as popular as we thought.
  • Running social media campaigns is tough! Providing fresh content 24/7 and having minimal engagement is frustrating.

The challenge is also running the business after hours while we have our day jobs. It has meant a lot of late nights and busy weekends. We accidentally missed a failed order on the site last week. Thank goodness for our site developer Liza who has been absolutely amazing!

Through the drool and niggles, there are some nuggets that we’ve picked up along the way:

  • The personal touch is important. While I’m all for online shopping, there’s something about speaking face-to-face with someone. I totally get how retail giants such as Amazon and even Yuppie Chef are toying with bricks and mortar. Don’t underestimate the value in hand deliveries.
  • Runners are all so different but yet all so alike. Sticking to what we know has worked for us. Trying to be all things to all people is impossible right now.

    I love these lava print tights! And everywhere I saw jacaranda trees, I would stop to take pics.

  • Knowing the stock makes all the difference. I have started running in different bras and running in various styles of running tights. It definitely helps knowing the product, but not only through the brochures, but from personal experience. I’ll tell you now (for free) that the racerback Xtra Support bra is not nearly as comfortable as the StabilyX Running bra.

    They say you shouldn’t try anything new when running a race, but I decided to try out the StabilyX Ventilator 3/4 tights for Kaapsehoop half marathon. This is me and my dad 300m from the finish line. We were hurting! But the tights felt amazing!

  • Finding the right brand ambassadors who love your product and believe in your vision has been so motivating! Thank you Kirsty & Dan!

    OCR & Trail running fanatic!

    Kirsty just had to try out a couple of handstands in her new Generator Revolution Trailprint tights. Gosh, they fit her like a glove!

The snag of spraining my ankle and KK traveling for work during December is yet another teething problem for us – something we need to work around. You start becoming incredibly solutions-focused and agile.

The running injuries come & hopefully will go. The projects at work should come to an end. But runners don’t stop running. And so the sales must go on!

Get to CW-X SA and find out why we’re committed to sticking through the teething problems!

My blog has been silent and yet I have so much to share!

My blog has been pretty quiet lately. It’s not that I have nothing to share. Quite the opposite in fact! I’ve been busy. Very busy!

Here’s what’s been happening:

  • We bought a small business. What an eye opener this has been! It’s taken us ages to sort things out. From bank accounts, merchant accounts, web development, ordering stock, waiting for the stock to arrive. It’s been such a learning experience, full of ups and downs. We wanted to wait until we were ready to start telling everyone and sharing our news, but that seems to be taking forever! So here it is: We’re officially the distributors for CW-X in Southern Africa! *Squeal*
  • Running your own social media content plan for your own business takes time! Most weekends and weekday evenings, I’m sitting down writing posts and creating content. The Instagram account is live (go check it out!) but we’re reluctant to get going on Facebook until our website is ready & people can purchase stock. Want to help me? If you do wear CW-X and have any photos showing the running kit, please can you share those with me. I’d much rather show real athletes (that’s you!) than posed models in the kit.

    This is us both in our CW-X clothes at Parkrun. We might need to work on our posing. LOL

  • Like almost 90% of Jo’burgers, I got bronchitis and was out of action. It took forever to heal, two visits to the Doc, daily nebulizing, lots of sleep (read: Allergex). Then out of the blue, I get shingles. On my face! WTH? 3 weeks of misery has taught me two lessons. One: listen to my body. Read bullet point number one. It’s been a stressful time! Lesson number two: when you can’t run, your body had no way of de-stressing. You get even more niggly. I acknowledge the huge role running does play in my life & will try not complain about my running again.
  • I have been on a mission to help an after care centre in Kliptown called Izanokhanyo Community Based Project get SnapScan so that donations can be easier as well as kickstart their social media so that we can start telling their story. Let me tell you, it’s made me incredibly happy inside to help. It’s early days but here’s holding thumbs I can help make a difference! I’d love your help! I’ll let you know how soon!

    Helen, who runs Izanokhanyo without a salary, handing out sweet to the kids.

  • I’ve been successful in my application to be part of a pilot project kicking off at work. All new. Unknown. Virgin territory. Exciting as hell but I’m also nervous. But after climbing in & assisting with some of the project management for the last couple of weeks, I’ve proven to myself that I am capable of learning & trying something new. Doing this nowadays at work needs to be the norm.
  • My Dad’s partner Rina passed away too. It’s funny how you think you have time and you discuss illness and old age and plans on what to do if this happens and if that happens. But when things do happen, no one is quite prepared. Everyone grieves differently. Each person says goodbye in their own way. I’m glad we’re spending more time with my Dad. I wish my parents stayed closer.

Everything I’ve mentioned above happens for a reason and at the right time. The delays in getting our business up and running gave me more time to spend with my Dad. Getting sick slowed me down and forced me to rest and take stock of what mattered. What mattered was helping Izanokhanyo in my spare time and not using that time for reading work emails. And yet I was rewarded by getting the job at work.

I’m going to make more time to blog too. This one was long. If you made it to here, the key take out is that I’m fine, I’m excited and yes… I’m still running! We’ve got Run-The-Berg (or in my case with limited training Walk-The-Berg) coming up, Kaapsehoop and Otter.

Can’t wait for that purple carpet to line the streets!

By the way, the jacarandas are starting to bloom. It’s the most beautiful time to be outdoors! Go for that run!

I’m an entrepreneur, at work

I sat at my desk last week a different person to the one I was just a few months ago. Butterflies fluttered around in my stomach and felt like I was tiptoeing on clouds ready to leap off a cliff at the same time.

KK and I have successfully started our own small business. We are officially entrepreneurs!

No one around me noticed the change (or perhaps panic in my face). People are busy and there’s very little time nowadays for anyone to stop and check-in on one another. It’s a pity because I’m not the only one standing at the edge of that cliff.

As I gazed around the desks, it dawned on me that I would not be where I am today had it not been for many of my colleagues. Their support, friendship and lessons over the years has grown me into the person I am today.

Pulling this off would also not have been possible without all the skills I had picked up during my 15 years of service at Standard Bank.

  • I’ve learnt the power of networking. Of relationship-building.
  • I understand the brand and how important it is to be true to what it is I’m selling.
  • I know how to assess the market & be aware of my competitors.
  • I’ve picked up key skills such as negotiation and buy-in.
  • I guess what excites me the most is the social media and engagement with potential customers.
  • I’ve also been taught that while the good times come, so do the bad and that it’s only by putting hard work into something that you see success.
  • Most of all, I’ve learnt patience. Things happen when the time is right.

    The view from the 4th floor of my office. Development is happening all around me.

As the bank grows, so do I. The courses I go on, the people I interact with. All of it adds to moulding me into a cleverer thinker, to be more strategic and constantly have a business-like mindset to every decision I make.

The more I grow at work, the more my business benefits. And because I’m eager to make a success out of both, the more effort I put in.

It’s a win win situation.