It started with a growing frustration, then I realised other parents felt frustrated too! A whole heap of frustration about buying children’s shoes. Hmm, I thought, it’s not just me, this is a problem, and for every problem there’s a solution!
Inspiration can be elusive but when it strikes, boy will you know it! The idea will buzz constantly inside your head, like an itch that needs scratching… six years later my idea still occupies a big chunk of brain space, and, you know what, I’m happy about that.
I came across the term ‘passion and purpose’ a couple of years ago, and it struck me how perfectly that describes what drives me, every day since I started. My why, my purpose is to help parents feel confident about the shoes they buy for their children and to share what I know about keeping children’s feet healthy, and I am pretty damn passionate about it!
Right from the beginning I believed wholeheartedly in my idea and in my ability to bring it to life, but don’t think for one minute I haven’t questioned myself every day and, trust me, imposter syndrome is a regular visitor! Feeling I’ve taken my eye off the ball, let my children down, am being pulled in all directions, thinking someone else does it so much better than me, kicking myself for making silly, little mistakes … and on, and on, and on!
But there’s only me, making it all happen and with the best will in the world, there’s only so much one person can do. And for the most part, it is just me doing it all… measuring feet, buying shoes, accounts, stock management, marketing, social media (in all its many forms), website, things I didn’t even know were a thing!
I thought I was prepared as I embarked on this journey, after all, I have a business degree and previously worked in the City advising companies on their communications, yet the learning curve has been steep and the last six years have been a real eye-opener to the reality of running a business. No matter how much you know, or think you know, keeping an open mind, seeking advice and a willingness to learn and adapt, are absolutely crucial to making progress.
Don’t ever fool yourself you’ve got all your ducks in a row…there’s always something you can learn to do better, a different approach, a new system that could bring efficiencies, a potential new product or revenue stream you could introduce, aspects like sustainability to consider, a curveball to deal with…
And what a curveball the last year has been! Being small and nimble, I could make decisions quickly and adapt as things changed. While it has been far from easy, the support from customers and the small business community has been utterly amazing.
Pandemic or not, you need a support network, be it friends and family, small business buddies, on social media, in business networks, or a mix of them all. Having people you can turn to when there’s a problem, when you’re struggling, need inspiration or just need to speak to someone who understands, makes a huge, huge difference. There is no doubt in my mind that without the support of many, many wonderful people, I would not be where I am now.
So six years of juggling running a business and looking after my family...where does CeCe & Me go from here? What does the future hold? While there's still a lot of juggling going on, as our children grow and become slightly more independent, I’m able to find more time to work and that opens up opportunities.
I absolutely want the business to continue to evolve and grow, and to do that I realise it needs more than just me. The hard bit is figuring out what that will look like…do I need to outsource? Do I need a mentor or coach? Do I invest more in my website? Should I franchise? Is there another way to reach more people? An insight into why my brain always feels so full, but this, challenging myself, solving problems, is the really exciting bit of being my own boss! Here's to the next six years and all I will learn!