A Small Business Story.
If you haven’t heard of Bidiliia Jewellery, then it’s worth taking a look, particularly if you’re a new small business owner. Anu Sawhney, founder of ethically-made jewellery brand Bidiliia, only two years into business, has loads of valuable advice for other small business owners.
Derived from an Irish word meaning strong and powerful, Bidiliia is a brand that’s true to its meaning. Bidiliia is clear on who it is and what it stands for. And that’s one of the tips that Anu shared with me.
Read on for Bidiliia’s tips for surviving business in the early years.
Firstly, what is Bidiliia Jewellery?
It’s elegant versatile jewellery, handmade ethically in Spain. You’ll want to buy one of her rings when you see them – trust me.
Founder, Anu Sawhney, has been celebrating incremental wins since she launched the brand in 2017. With a long background in design, she went out on her own, largely because she’d had enough of big production houses having little empathy for artisans. She also found herself hospitalised after the birth of her daughter. When most people would be resting up, Anu used this time to sketch out designs, connect with artisans and get the basics of her new business up and running.
And she hasn’t slowed down since.
“Happy people make happy things.”
Anu believes that’s true for any business. “If you pay your people what they ask for, you’ll end up with near perfect output. You need to take care of things at your end. You need to address your pricing structure, rather than putting unnecessary pressure on artisans.”
This is at the heart of Bidiliia. Empathy for people and a genuine engagement.
What keeps Anu smiling in business?
“Every time I think I’m getting comfortable, I find something else to learn and another way to make the business better. I like a good challenge”, she says. It seems she revels in the feeling of a new quest and conquering it.
Anu gives an example of when she discovered SEO (search engine optimisation – or more simply, getting found online).
“I didn’t know it [SEO] was a thing. I read a bit about it and thought ‘this is important stuff’. So then I just went all in”, she says. “A lot of business’s address SEO 5-7 years into business. The more I learnt, I realised this is something I should be doing from the beginning.”
Just on that, a study by Telstra in Nov 2018 showed that only 26% of small business use SEO (Telstra Small Business Intelligence Report). That’s a huge opportunity for small business owners to upskill or find the right support to get them found online, ahead of their competition.
Source: Telstra Small Business Intelligence Report, Nov 2018
Part of running a business is that you need to be ok with that uncomfortable feeling of knowing you have a gap that needs filling. Whether this is in your marketing knowledge or product offering. And just accepting that there’s a necessary process of discovery that needs to take place. And it’s not always enjoyable. Dr Jason Fox, author and speaker on Motivation Design coined the phrase ‘constructive discontent’ to describe the gap between where we are and where are want to be.
Image by Dr Jason Fox
Anu agrees that there’s always an element of impatience in closing the gap. So how does she deal with it? “It’ll get to a point where I have to walk away. No phone. No notepad. Just have a cup of coffee, or go and talk to people and clear my head.”
What’s challenging in running a small business?
“There’s never enough time to do all the things you want to do”, she says. “I’m trying to become more efficient with keeping track of my time.”
And understanding that things do take time.
Anu has had some success with Facebook advertising. “For Facebook ads to work, you need to invest time – not necessarily money. And let it run for a period of time to see results.”
Anu has also engaged influencers to support Bidiliia. She says this also is an investment in time, building a relationship with influencers and followers.
And that’s something Anu is very good at.
She’s quickly and organically grown her following on Facebook and Instagram with an actively engaged community. Her personality is a very big part of the brand. And she has a flare for cutting through and getting noticed.
The Sparkle Society for her VIP’s was created to build on the relationships formed between the brand and customer. Anu is also active in other online groups that have her ideal buyer, which helps drive traffic to her website.
What are the learnings that have made a difference?
“There’s been a shift in my thinking since understanding SEO”, she says. “How I approach the way I introduce new products online. Knowing how to represent them on my website.”
She also links this learning to Bidiliia’s content marketing strategy.
Anu places her content ideas into categories. “Whatever I post, it must sit within these categories”, she says. “I don’t just post about jewellery. Even I would find that boring.” Anu recommends using Facebook and Instagram Stories for anything that doesn’t fit.
Categories or content themes are a key part of any social media strategy.
Social media guru Amy Wyhoon from SugarPop Social recommends creating categories to match your business. “Sharing content that benefits your audience and fits within defined categories, forms the basis for a good social media strategy,” says Amy. “The idea of the categories is that they act as a guide for what you post.” Amy recommends having around 5 to 7.
Free tools such as Google Search Console and Google My Business are an important part of Bidiliia’s content strategy. Google Search Console helps with identifying keywords and understanding what people are searching for. “I can see what I’m getting clicks for and also ideas for new content and website improvements.”
Google My Business allows you to post content that lasts for 7 days. Anu has seen positive results since posting weekly. “There’s seems to be an improvement in my search rankings the more I use it.”
Anu is also very clear on her approach to pricing.
Right from the outset, Anu has been determined to price her products properly. Taking care to know her numbers and what she needs to be profitable. “It’s very easy to price yourself short. Product-based businesses typically run at a loss for the first 3 years. My mindset from the start was to price carefully so I can stick around for the long term.”
Top tips for starting out in business
To wrap up, I asked Anu for her top tips for anyone starting out in business:
- Find your niche and make it interesting
- Invest in search engine optimisation
- Create your content categories – and stick with it
- Use your own tone – it’s much easier to be you
- Inject personality – show up as you – we’re all flawed – nobody’s perfect
- Test, experiment, fail, repeat. It then forces you to do it the right way
- Have a willingness to learn and find new gaps to close
- Price yourself properly
Over to youWhat marketing tips would you like to learn more about?
Amy Annetts, a marketing specialist in Melbourne, has been practising marketing for 25 years. She creates marketing strategies that give small businesses an advantage over their competition. Amy blends her corporate and traditional marketing experience with the latest digital techniques. Using a full-scale marketing toolkit, Amy’s clients have access to effective campaigns that earn them more customers. And she loves a challenge, evidenced by her mad interest in outdoor obstacle courses, where she’s happy to climb walls, crawl under barbed wire and be covered in mud.
But that’s another story.
Get in touch to see how Amy can help you.