Starting a business is not without risk – even more so, if your business idea is something quite novel for the market you’re looking to enter. That’s why it’s vital to be passionate about your idea and truly believe that your product is something that the industry needs – even if others don’t realise it yet.
An excellent example of an entrepreneur who achieved this is Heather Gorringe, founder of organic farming business Wiggly Wigglers, who we first met when she attended the inaugural Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network (DWEN) conference, which itself aims to spotlight female entrepreneurial success stories.
For this latest post in the Dell Entrepreneur Spotlight series, I spoke with Heather to learn more about how she transformed her entrepreneurial dream into a successful business.
What is your company all about?
We’re about providing sustainable living supplies, feeds, seeds and British flowers direct from Herefordshire in England. We are based on a mixed family farm in Herefordshire and it is really important to us that we farm in the way that we believe is best for us, and best for our environment. My job is to add value to our farm and give customers really good things that we can produce on our farm or in collaboration with other British farmers.
Where did the idea for your business come from?
Originally I lived on a small holding and wanted my own business. I started composting and thought there was an opportunity for people to use worms to compost their waste in their own homes. As I developed the business, and married my husband (farmer Phil), we found products and developed ideas that enable customers to buy something unique – and at the same time help promote British farming and the sustainability of our farm and its wildlife.
What was the biggest challenge you faced when starting your business and how did you overcome it?
Lack of experience, being completely outside my comfort zone, not asking for help – too many to mention.
We've overcome challenges by working as a team and kept going when the going gets tough.
If you had to do it all again, what (if anything) would you have done differently in building the business?
Nothing – we're always learning and it's fantastic to create and run your own business. You make your own decisions based on the evidence and your instinct at the time, and it is fantastic to build something out of nothing.
What was your ‘Plan B’ if your business venture didn’t work out?
I kept two part time jobs, working at a bar and printing ties.
What key business advice would you give to entrepreneurs or start-up businesses?
Try it. Start lean. Choose something you are going to really enjoy doing. Don't rely completely on market research – if you have something new, people are not going to know they want it or need it yet.
What technology could your business not live without?
The internet, the internet, the internet. We are based in a village with a population of 63 people. There is no passing trade. Without the internet we would not have a business, full stop.
What’s the best perk of being your own boss?
There are lots of rewards from being your own boss. Within the business it is fantastic to see the team achieve, and when customers love what you do, it’s a huge kick. I suppose the biggest perk is freedom – freedom to work and play (within reason) when I like, and freedom to make really crunchy decisions.
You can find Wiggly Wigglers on Twitter @wiggled. Learn more about the innovative ways Wiggly Wigglers is engaging its audience on Twitter and social media channels by reading the case study on the Dell Social Media Toolkit for small and medium businesses.