Lessons I learned in 2019 and what I’ve taken from them

By Louise Reed, Founder of Little Nutkins, an online children’s store selling toys, clothes, books, gifts and accessories.

As we kick off 2020, we’re going to feature Guest Blogs written by amazing #amotherbrands on the lessons they learned in 2019 and what they’ve taken from them.

In these blogs, super impressive early-stage entrepreneurs who are mamas, blending life and work and learning as they go, will share the lessons they’ve learned in 2019 and how they hope it will inform them in 2020.

In this blog, we hear the lessons learned in 2019 by Louise Reed, Founder of Little Nutkins, an online children’s store selling toys, clothes, books, gifts and accessories. Louise is a mother of two and a super-impressive serial entrepreneur. Having started Little Nutkins in 2018, Louise also launched her own brand ‘Girls Can’ in 2019, encouraging positive messages for girls. In 2020 Louise is also launching her own organic and ethical children’s fashion brand, XOKiddo.com.

Lessons I learned in 2019 and what I’ve taken from them by Louise Reed

#1 Be cautious following competitors too closely

When you’re starting out it’s great to see who the competitors are and what they are doing. Be careful though, use them as a benchmark and but don’t try and copy them or steal customers from them. It won’t end well. Do your own thing and shine.

#2 Be yourself

It’s rare to find a marketplace that’s empty these days so you’ll always be up against some competitors. As mentioned above rather than try and copy them do your own thing. What makes you different? Why should they buy from you? Write down your motivations, your goals and your ethos, and always try and come back to these. Make your business as authentic as possible and customers will reward you for it.

#3 Show your face

This is a very tough one for most people, including me. But customers like to hear from YOU! Don’t be an anonymous business. Write as you’d talk to people. Tell people about you and why you love the products. Show photos of yourself, do videos, start a conversation. It will help customers relate and warm to you more, which can be great for business.

#4 Beware of discounting

It can be very tempting to run a discount promotion, especially when sales are slow or competitors are doing them. Yes, discounts can drive sales, but they can reduce your margin massively.
Instead offer an incentive that gives you something back too. For example, save 15% when you buy 2 items or buy two get one free. You can also do ‘tiered’ discounts where customers save depending on what they spend e.g. Save 10% over £50 or 20% over £100. Making them up their spend to get the reward is much better idea as it’s win-win.

#5 Keep an eye on your margin and profits

It’s easy to look at your revenues and think you’re doing amazingly, but don’t forget it doesn’t matter unless you are making money back. I’ve seen plenty of ‘successful’ businesses that struggle because they’ve spent way too much money on advertising or other costs compared to what they actually sell.

#6 Starting your own business is hard….but rewarding

I’m not going to lie, running your own business is hard. There’s a very steep learning curve, and there’ll be lots of elements you hate (accounting, admin, replying to emails). I’ve worked more hours than I ever did when I was employed. However, there’s nothing more motivational than knowing you’re the boss! There’s no room to hide, no excuses, no slacking off, it’s all on you. It’s a lot of pressure, but I love it. No one to report to, no awkward appraisal meeting, no timesheets, no boring meetings when you’re not sure why you’re even there. And the part I love the most – no office politics!! I’m the happiest I’ve ever been in a job.

With many thanks to Louise for sharing the lessons she learned in the two years of Little Nutkins. If you’d like to know more about Little Nutkins, you can follow it on Instagram here.

Did any of Louise’s lessons resonate with you?

What were the key lessons you learned in 2019?

Let me know in the comments 👇💕