Nicole Golland doesn't like wasted paper and, when she found out that even kids use more approximately 100 paper envelopes per year, decided to do something about that. Her something is "lopees", re-usable organic cotton envelopes she sells at lopees.com.au and which have won her a handful of business awards.
Nicole shares her business secrets with us in this Q&A.
Q: What’s the one thing you wish you’d known before you started in business?
A: One thing I wish I knew before I started my business was that even though you have an idea and a passion, there is so many other factors that come into a business then just those two things. To make sure you are protected with your Company name, trademark, design. Also aspects such as web design, importing, marketing and sales. At the start of the business you feel like one step forward and two steps back. Though it’s great to learn and understand all aspects of starting a business. If you are self motivated and willing to learn as much as possible you are able to do most of the start up stage yourself.
Q: What are your most effective work habits?
A: The most affective work habits I have found especially being a mum and working from home, is to set certain hours to work. The start of the week I organise my week and work out the hours I will work and write a list of all the things I need to do achieve and I stick to those hours. I don’t answer the phone, no housework, I work as if I was in an office and those times are set for the Business. As its easy to get distracted working from home.
Q: Best Business decision you’ve ever made?
A: The best business decision I have made was when we had our small NSP Lopees we went to an Expo and lots of people asked for internal mail system envelope for office buildings to use, we listen to them and took notes. From that expo we decided to send our business partner Peter to India to work with our manufacturer on other designs. When he arrived home we had decided on a range that now has DL, book bags, library bags, A4 and A3 size bags for internal mail systems that local councils use instead of the paper yellow envelopes. Its wonderful to hear what the public thinks and wants, as in business you may think one thing may work and may not be something the consumers are looking for.
Q: What’s more important in business: passion or preparation? Why?
A: I believe passion is very important in Business, as in business you can do a lot of preparation though if you don’t believe or have the passion in your product it really does show to the customers. Especially in the Green Industry you need to have a passion for the environment and truly wanting to make a difference for the future generations not just to make money.
Q: What’s your favourite networking activity? Why?
A: My favourite networking activity is Women in Business Breakfast at my local council. Twice a year they hold a breakfast free for local women in Business. They have a guest speaker and it’s a wonderful way to meet other women in Business in your local area, I always make a great connections and its great to hear other women’s stories, it really inspires me.
Q: How do you relax?
A: The way I love to relax is by the beach. We have a caravan down at the beach so we try and get down there as much as possible. The ocean calms me and really clears my mind and gets me quite motivated when I get back from our weekend away. I also mediate, during the mediation I focus on seeing things that I hope to achieve in my personal and business life.
Q: If someone gave $100,000 and said “Invest this in your business by the end of the week- or lose it” what would you do?
A: I would first invest in our Indian manufacturer and buy into the company, to make sure that we can give them the sewing machines and space they need to make our products. We have brought them a double stitching machine before to help make our products though I would love to have a better partnership by investing in their company to help them move forward and also our company at the same time. The next thing I would do is to rent a warehouse for our products to be stored in and with an office so I could work from there. And last thing would be to get a person who is an expert in getting new designs into the market place and help us take our business to the next level. Our goal is to get larger business organisations to have our internal mail systems and for larger companies such as corporate express and office works to sell our products.