At Chrysalis one of our primary motivators is business development - we want to empower women to develop and grow their businesses. The question I have for you is one we have had to face ourselves recently - are you actually ready for growth? Can you make quick decisions and adapt to your market?
When Kim and I got together to plan the next stage of Chrysalis towards the end of last year, we knew we had enough market research to support our idea and strong indicators it was going to be well received. Kim as founder had been running it for 3 years and I had been involved for a year. Between us we had a good sense of where people were at and what was needed next.
Kim and I both had other businesses we were keen to grow, and saw Chrysalis as “an interesting side project” that we needed to be able to pay for the work put in, while continuing to support the needs of the group. We saw a relatively easy year ahead with the programme already mapped out and getting together occasionally over a cup of peppermint tea to review how things were going. At the end of our “pilot” year we would make some decisions on what next.
Well that tranquil vision soon got blown out of the water! The first run of the Your Business Journey Workbook sold out within 4 days, our first meeting in January was full and by February we were turning people away. Crikey! We hadn’t even done any marketing yet! It was a great problem to have but we were majorly under prepared. We were expecting to make these next stage decisions at the end of 2017, not the beginning!
This sudden growth for us was exciting, unexpected and nerve wracking. For me it was especially unsettling to be caught on the back foot. Clearly there is a need for the women's networking community we provide and people are loving what is going on with Chrysalis. The feedback has been that providing a purpose and direction has been shift that has been most appealing and relevant to women wanting to grow their small businesses.
We needed to reassess and adapt quickly to be able to meet everyone's needs and continue the momentum all while juggling our own individual businesses and a dragon boating regatta or 3…
Rather than simply reacting we took the time to see how this sudden interest fit with our overall vision for Chrysalis and what we could manage. We did a survey, asked key questions and have now initiated a 2nd meeting starting in June with the view to also expanding to Kapiti and The Hutt.
We are hugely excited about the challenge ahead and thrilled the Business Journey has been so well received. There were bumps in the road but we are now back on track and racing ahead.
The moral of the story? Be prepared, be able to make decisions based on growth potential, build when you can and go for it.