I think that proper networking and research on who is making quality products, and finding a vendor with a good track record of customer satisfaction would be crucial in getting a positive consumer reaction.
Networking is invaluable when you do not miss opportunities that are available just from people talking about your product. Some of the smaller stores are involved in fairs and events where products can be introduced to the public without the burden of larger brand name competition.
Additionally, my variety of personal strengths will help me succeed when I launch my new business. I am not intimidated by the possibility that my business might fail. I know that I will work very hard to make my business successful, and if the business is not successful, I will know that I would have done everything possible to make the business succeed.
I am not afraid or intimidated by required changes within the business. I will be able to adapt to different situations that may occur when the business starts to grow. The best way I have found to get any information about different makers of products is the Internet. Information about the production of the product as well as the ingredients is openly available through this medium. It is important to be able to research the ingredients because if you have a vendor that uses cheap ingredients to cut corners, your product will not be successful.
Another thing to plan for is whether the ingredients that are used can cause allergic reactions with customers. The Internet does have its drawbacks because a large amount of information that is available cannot be used due to outdated reporting. Subsequently, I have located a great deal of timely and useful information which will be of use to my business plan and fledgling enterprise.
Some manufacturers offer free samples of their product, which for me would be perfect because I can give people samples and see what they prefer and why; test marketing at the expense of the larger manufacturers is an intelligent use of resources.
Test Markets have communicated to friends about my idea of starting my own business, intent on determining the reactions; all have been positive. When I ask them why they think it would be a good idea, everyone to whom I have spoken says that I am very persistent and do not give up once I have made up my mind to do something. I am very proud that people think that I am persistent and will not give up, and they do not see this goal as something that is unreachable for me. This also helps motivate me because I do not always realize the good qualities that I possess which would help me succeed with opening my own business.
Areas for Improvement
The part of my future business that I will have to improve on is my ability to compete. The market in toiletries and cosmetics is flooded with product not only from the United States but also all over the world. My idea is to market my product in the U.S. As well as other countries. In Thailand, where I am from, there is a great demand for anything that is made in the U.S. because there are very few things in the retail market available to people from the U.S. Consumers will spend as much money in Thailand for anything made in the U.S. As Americans spend on things from Italy, France, and England.
A also have friends that would be willing to work for me and sell my product; this would make it easy for me to keep my business going because it will probably require a long time to gain a strong consumer following in the U.S.
The things that I will have to change when running my own business will be my skills at time management. Time management with my regular work schedule, family life, and running a successful business will be a challenge for me. Time management is sometimes a problem for me now because I take on too many responsibilities at once. This can be very self-destructive for me because I get burned out and have a hard time concentrating and prioritizing those things that are the most important and need to get done first. I will need to ensure that I have a plan in action every time I add something to my schedule. Furthermore, I have not run a business on my own before, and it may well be more demanding than I anticipate, although I do anticipate at least a year of 18-hour days.
My challenge will be finding the physical, mental, and emotional resources to meet that demand for a long period of time. I might try to look at the aspect of getting someone to help me with my business if it gets to hard to manage myself. This would be a good alternative than stressing myself out over too many tasks, and would also be a good sign hiring someone to help because it would mean my business is growing.
My opportunities, however, are so great that they warrant taking the risk. While the market alone, as described above, supports the idea that this is an excellent opportunity for me, the general tenor of the industry is also practically palpable in its offer of a bright future. An industry report in Soap Perfumery & Cosmetics (2000) noted that there was "plenty of opportunity for innovation and expansion. Increasingly, consumer demand is driving the industry, with companies seeking to meet, rather than dictate, market needs, with a particular sensitivity to local diversity." That is specifically what I intend to do as a Body Shop entrepreneur: meet the market needs for cosmetics and skin care in Thailand.
Threats to Success
The threats to my success are the usual ones: lack of independent business experience, and, notably, the lack of abundant start-up cash. One threat that probably does not exist in cosmetics is the economic climate; in all economic climates, people want and need - for personal and business purposes - to look and feel good, and cosmetics provides a relatively inexpensive means to do that, affordable to many even when the economy is declining. The fact that I am starting from the bottom with very little money will make it difficult for me to create a business and succeed.
The other problem I face is the expenditure to market such products, especially with the competition already in all of the large department stores. I will have to start in the U.S. with privately owned businesses and specialty stores, most of these stores do not have any ties with big name brands. With the ingredients of the products changing, the manufacturing costs are becoming more expensive because the vendors using the newer ingredients know they can charge more money than the product is actually worth. This threatens my future business even more because money will be an issue when I start my company, and this could possibly take more money than expected.
Should I fail to succeed in a career as a Body Shop owner, I will be able to fall back on skills I have already honed in financial control, with the goal of moving into a position as Controller in a major corporation. I am close to finishing my Master's Degree, which will be helpful if that should become my career path; frankly, it will be helpful in securing the financing and other assistance I would need to open a Body Shop. However, even the research to open a shop will help me if my career path is detoured and I choose, instead, to seek fulfillment in a corporation's financial departments. Having a broad understanding of how business operates generally is always valuable; having more specific experience with small business, being globally responsible for employing more people, it is thought, than large corporations, should also serve to make me a more attractive candidate for high corporate achievement in finance.
Things to Avoid
Things that I should avoid in my business are: getting into the habit of only selling things that I prefer. I should always look at the new products offered by my competitors and see why they are marketing these items, and what kind of a consumer groups they are targeting. This is very important to do because it is easy to say that you do not like something, but that does not mean that there is not a strong consumer base to support different products that I may not like. Therefore, keeping an open mind to other people's opinions is a very important quality to have. I must…