Jane Lu’s online retail company, Showpo, was named one of five Australian startups to watch in 2016 by Business Insider. Last year she turned over $10m and sold to more than 50 countries. Showpo’s Instagram account recently hit 1m followers. Here she recounts her biggest business blunders.
Mistakes are like an ongoing hazing ritual for a startup. But it’s all about how you learn from them and how you pick yourself back up! There’s no shame in admitting a f’up – learn from it and move on!
That said, let’s try and avoid as many mistakes as possible!
So here goes:
I’m ashamed to admit that there was a period when I would frequently look at what our competitors were doing. I spent to first couple of years having no time to worry about competitors because the business was just snowballing. And then one day, I found myself subscribed to everyone’s newsletters, following their Instagram and responding to every cold call email from new digital platforms that had promised us an edge over the competition.
It absorbed me to the point where I forgot who we were and what we were about. And you know what, that was a period where we plateaued. Worst part of it was that the team was uninspired. They weren’t led by a maverick girl boss with big dreams, they were led by a sheep.
It wasn’t until the team regrouped on our vision, and removed the distractions, did we started growing again.
2. Not knowing your numbers.
One December we thought we were killing it when the sales were rolling in at an all-time high. It was until we reviewed our margins the following month we realised that we over discounted and our cost for acquisition was too high – we should’ve looked at our numbers much sooner!