At least eight years before the Covid-19 lockdown, I was also at home experiencing my personal version of the lockdown. It was at the time when I had no work, no school, no volunteer work (except church) and had to think hard of what I really wanted to do in my life. During that time, I was mostly at home not because of any impending danger outside, but simply because I had no reason and no means to be out. And so, when ECQ happened, it was not completely new to me.
I remember back then I had set a goal of having at least one new project per week. In some weeks I was baking carrot cakes and banana cakes. In other weeks I was making greeting cards, and then later on I started making journals out of recycled plastic bottles and cereal boxes. Work with your hands to explore different possibilities. You will only know where you are good at or what you enjoy unless you try it. The goal is to try and fail at least once a week.
5. Pilot Test
Once you are able to draw new ideas and create mock-ups from your weekly exploratory projects, there might be one particular product that you find interesting. Show it to family and trusted friends for feedback. If they deem that it has potential, do not invest all your money to build up inventory just yet. Run a pilot-test. Meaning, create a small scale shop to test the marketability of the product idea. It can be a simple Facebook post where your FB friends can see the photos, comment on it, and even purchase the product. With the current social media, you can pilot test in several platforms such as Shopee, Etsy, Instagram, etc. at no cost.
6. Determine what is the purpose of your product
Why should your product exist? If the answer is because a particular market finds a need for it and believes that your product is better than what is existing in the market then your business has a potential to thrive. Then dig deeper, in what specific way is it better — is it because of its novelty, the design, the convenience, the emotional connection, the empowerment it provides? Creating a product with a clear purpose would allow you to communicate with an impact and rise above the online clutter.
7. Use your business to solve other people’s problems
One mentor shared with me that we are given gifts to bless others. Like a flowing river, the gifts (capabilities, strengths, skills) flow to us to be passed on to others. If we choose to keep these gifts to ourselves, we would be stagnant like the Dead Sea. Mori Notes was the response when God called me to use my gift in creativity to help marginalized women. I realized through the years that God blesses us as we bless others. He helped build the network and expand the horizons of Mori all the while when I was just at home. Be surprised how God would lead you too when you offer all of your abilities for His purpose.
8. Leverage: share your hats to enlarge the business
As an entrepreneur, it is no surprise that you can do all the tasks by yourself. You can be your own purchaser, producer, marketer, financier, delivery person, after sales service, customer support, and so much more. However, you can only do so much. It will be impossible to scale and go far on your own. As an African proverb goes, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” If you want to scale your business, it is more important to work smart than work hard. Tap other people or companies that are better or more efficient than you in doing a particular task. In Mori, we implement operational leveraging by having the Mori communities do the production, and marketing leveraging by partnering with sales advocates who believe in the brand and do the marketing to the best of their abilities.