We asked Amy Gordinier-Regan and Francine Krenicki of Skinfix for a little Expert Advice:
What advice would you give to someone who feels overwhelmed by the competition? Knowing who your competition is and what they are doing in the marketplace is really important. Take time to do the research and document it, then look for “white space” because there is always room to come into the scene with a point of differentiation. After you have identified where there are gaps, use that to your advantage and make sure to market and communicate the uniqueness of your product or service to the consumer. For Skinfix, we saw a huge opportunity to develop products that used natural ingredients, were Dermatologist Recommended, and actually performed to heal the skin effectively.
When you think of the best people to work with, what traits do they share? In an entrepreneurial environment, the best people to work with are flexible and think on their feet. Startup companies have a lot less structure than established corporate environments. The Skinfix team works at lightning speed to execute launch plans and doesn’t always stick to prospective job descriptions. Everyone rolls up their sleeves and pitches in to get the job done.
Give a budding entrepreneur your best hiring and firing business practices. Figure out your corporate culture early. What people do you and your team work well with? What types of people seem to thrive at the pace? Just because someone has a rock star resume does not mean that they are cut out for a fast growth company. You need to identify the “something special” early and hire people who seem to have it. What kinds of people fit your culture? That is often more important than experience.
Entrepreneurs often say that “you can’t do it all.” What three things do you always outsource? We operate Skinfix with a very lean team. There are certain areas where we use consultants who have the expertise and handle certain tasks on a project by project basis. We completely rely on Regulatory consultants in various markets to guide us in the development and marketing of our products. Each country has a different set of rules when it comes to cosmetics and we need a consultant’s guidance to make sure we are compliant in the labeling and marketing of our formulas. Creatively, we also use copywriters and photographers. There are a lot of talented resources we can tap into without having them on the team full time.
What business book would you recommend to someone who is either about to launch or in the early growth stage? The Method Method by Eric Ryan and Adam Lowry.
What are your thoughts on raising capital? Ideally you will raise capital from investors who bring something invaluable to the table beyond money. They may have relationships that can open doors to new business, strategic insights that you don’t have or can’t afford to purchase, or back office functions that they can lend to you (like finance, legal, and HR) to take the pressure off of a small team and keep things operating smoothly.
What piece of invaluable advice did you receive that you would like to pass on to women pursuing their dream? Manifestation and envisioning the business growing and evolving is key. At Skinfix, we set both short-term and long-term goals, and then take it day by day. Some days we feel like we are making tremendous progress, and then there are days that deliver setbacks. It’s two steps forward, one step back, but in the end there is progress and we stay positive and appreciate how far we have come in such a short amount of time.
My best advice to a woman launching a venture is… Know why you are doing it. My mentor, John Risley, told me that being an entrepreneur is the hardest and most rewarding job that you will ever have. He was 100% right. Make sure you know what you are looking to experience, achieve, or create, and why. If there isn’t a burning fire in your belly, maybe it’s not the right idea or perhaps not the right time.
Finally, please share your top five tips that would benefit an entrepreneurial woman launching or growing her business:
- Have confidence and faith in yourself and your instincts.
- Lean on others for advice/guidance.
- Cultivate a healthy sense of humor.
- Practice stress reduction daily (exercise, meditation, cooking, snuggling…whatever calms you down and centers your soul).
- Enjoy the experience. It’s better than any other job!