Consider who you’re making connections with in your circle. The right people who share your creative vision, work ethic and success can help take your small business to new heights.
For entrepreneurs, the road to success looks like a lonely one. But it doesn’t have to be. And to reach your next level, goal — or whatever it is — it’s easier when you’re doing it with those supporting you. For a serial entrepreneur like me, I’ve found that your business is only as strong as the people you work with along the way.
Success is impossible to achieve on your own, and I’m no exception. A lot of people have helped me along the way to help turn Sully & Son Co. into one of Canada’s top premium accessory and footwear brands.
I want to share some of the lessons I’ve learned about surrounding yourself with the right people, both personally and professionally, and how networking and collaboration has helped me take Sully & Son to its next.
Tip 1: Strategic Collaboration
Collaborations are an incredibly valuable way of introducing your brand to potential customers in new, unexplored demographics. Finding a brand that shares your values and is working towards the same goals as yours can be a challenge, but if you have a product or service you can stand behind, you’ll draw the attention of potential partners that will be a good fit.
It isn’t easy to find that perfect partner without having a solid grasp of what it is you do best. Find your thing and use it to stand out from the crowd. Because once you do – collaborations can really take your growth to another level.
There’s never a bad time for a brand to try and form a strategic partnership. As long as both parties can fulfill their part equally, there’s no question that it will be a mutually beneficial situation: a true win-win.
Tip 2: Bringing on your brand champions
It’s important when finding people to promote and grow your brand, that they actively want you to succeed as much as you do.
And when it comes to presenting your brand to the world, your brand champions become even more integral. Here are some tips I’ve learned about finding vendors and collaborators to work with to help make my brand shine.
When finding the right stylists for your products, try to seek out those with some good credentials. Stylists that have more experience tend to have more access to what we are constantly looking for the most, and that’s exposure. Most importantly, access to the right opportunities can lead to the right personality endorsements.
If you’re working with someone new and on the rise, just make sure you have great chemistry and that their hunger to prove themselves (and ultimately your brand) feels right.
There are thousands of talented photographers out there and choosing the right one for you might feel impossible. But that’s where social media can be your best friend. There’re plenty of professional photographers who use specific hashtags – such as #advertisingphotographer or #photoshoot – that could be a good avenue to finding someone you’d like to work with. On the flip side, your social pages are also a great way to showcase the creative vision of your brand to photographers interested in working with you.
You can’t be multiple places at once, so when you’re able to find someone to carry your water in different markets, it can be a true game changer. Again, it’s about finding the right people who you jive with and get a good sense that they’re actively part of your team. Start by doing your research. You’ll be surprised what you can find online if you actually take the time to look. The fashion landscape is ever changing and so are the reps that are constantly looking for new product!
Press & PR
There are lots of ways to hustle and get your name out there. I know people who approach journalists, bloggers, and influencers in hope of getting your brand out there. I’m fortunate to be at a stage where I have a publicist who handles those matters for me now, but if you’re new to the industry, I suggest focusing on your social media and making sure its tight! These days press will come to you if you have the right stuff.
Tip 3: Support Networks
Having a supportive family network has benefits that go just beyond your business’s bottom line. When your family is in your corner cheering on your success, any challenge becomes more manageable. My family cheered me on from day one. They’re entrepreneurs themselves, they always got it and have supported me 100%.
But what about working with family? I think you can tell from the name of my company that I’m all about working with family. My son may only be two and a half, but I can already see the budding entrepreneur in him. I can’t wait to see where it takes him. They say that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree and in this case, that couldn’t be truer! He’s well aware of what his daddy does for a living and he’s right there in the mix with me. I look forward to seeing his creative genius flourish regardless of the direction it takes him.
The business community is just that — a community. That means there are a wealth of resources to help business owners manage challenges, get advice, and find collaborators. Finding that community and the tools that come with it is a definite key to success.
It’s a different landscape now. When I started out, there was a lack of information; a lack of knowledge. But resources like DHL Mentorship are special because it’s information, tips, and advice coming from people who’ve been there before. It’s the coolest thing to get that type of information readily available to people like myself who are always learning, listening, and trying to find a better way to do what we do.
Tip # 4 Networking, Networking, Networking
Surrounding yourself with knowledgeable, supportive, and like-minded people is a major step towards finding your next. The power of connecting with people and growing your network cannot be overstated. The vision for your business may come from one person, but the more people who share it, the more likely you are to succeed.
About the Author
FGI Visionary Award Winner, George Sully is best known as the original maker of the Star Trek Discovery Starfleet boot. Sully is also a Bata Shoe Museum inductee, the creator of Black Designers of Canada, and co-founder of House of Hayla and his newly minted accessory brand Sully & Son Co., which can be found in both Hudson’s Bay and Harry Rosen.
Learn more about George Sully at Sully & Son Co. or on Instagram at @realgeorgesully