For as long as I can remember, I had always been determined to work for myself one day and start my own business. Ideas would come and go—I would nurture an endeavor and it would just fade away. (One of my first business plans when I was 8 was for a clothing boutique/spa/candy store hybrid.) Amongst all the “could-have-beens”, a few goals remained: I wanted to serve my community; I wanted to be creative; I wanted to do what I wanted. Just last month, I launched my first ever company, Bata NYC, a clothing and lifestyle brand dedicated to organic creativity and sustainable products.
Here, I hope to offer guidance to anyone who has been nurturing the idea of starting their own business and some important steps to take to get you started and motivated.
One of the first and most important things you can ask yourself if you are considering your own endeavor, is “Why?” Why are you doing this? What is the intent behind what you’re creating and putting out into the world? Who is it benefitting and how? Establishing a clear intention for your company is vital to the resulting quality of the product/service you intend to provide. Your intention creates a lighthouse for all of your executive decisions around how you operate your business. For example, if diversity and inclusion is one of your priorities, everything you do should reflect that from your employees to your vendors and so on and so forth.
This leads me to another important step: setting goals. What kind of business is this? How big is the picture? What would this look like for me? Do I want to live off this business? What is the success timeline? Be clear about what you want, and don’t sell yourself short. Writing down your goals, visualization, and planning are key to their manifestation. Even if you’re unsure what you want, taking this step will usually clear things up. When doing this, I challenge you to dream as big as you can—don’t worry so much about the “how” and focus on what it is you want.
Write it down, get photos for reference, and revisit this throughout your business development.
Finally, with the current state of the world, nearly every industry has been made vulnerable to scrutiny, which has exposed the hideous nature of many of the business practices that run and support our capitalist economy. This is a great time to see how things are done, where others have gone wrong, and how you can create that change through your own products/services. You always want to make sure you’re doing your best with what you have, to ensure your practices are helping more than they can hurt.