Friday, 27 April 2012

Nothing Changes if Nothing Changes - Jannine Barron


The BBW speaker for April 12, 2012 was the inspiring Jannine Barron, owner of Nature's Child

Jannine started an online business in the middle of the big dot com crash of the late nineties, and then opened a retail business just as the retail crash was imminent.  Now she is downsizing to a smaller location for her retail shop.  She's one brave, strong and capable woman.  One whom we can all learn from as she lays it all out on the table - warts and all.

Whether its taking on new media, new products no one has heard of, or riding the buzz of the Organics Revolution (which, by the way, is no more), Jannine is still here and adapting to changing times, just like she has since 1 July, 2000 when she started Nature's Child.  Why?  Because she is a survivor, an incredible business woman, and is not afraid to make the big decisions.  Now a business mentor who's passionate about being REAL and being flexible to survive and thrive in business, Jannine Barron tells a "real woman's story" in business and how she's still here, has once again pulled her "big girl boots on" and business is about to thrive again.   
Following are notes from Jannine's talk … which was INCREDIBLE and brought to the BBW networking breakfast a record number of attendee's.  
Firstly, the most important thing to take on board, is that ANYONE not currently changing their business, WILL NOT survive.  You need to go and do that thing you are procrastinating about, and where FEAR lies is where the answer to your business problems are.
This is the reality; If you've been in business for less than a year, the scary facts are that 82% of you will fail.  If you've been in business less than three years, it's 80% of you who will not make it.  Five years in business, and 50% fail … it's INCREDIBLE.  If you make it to 10 years - you're one of only 4% who have survived alongside you.  Sobering thoughts.  
Two things you must consider, and spend some time pondering on; 
First, there's solace in finding someone who has done it before, and secondly, that studying others success and mistakes WILL increase your chances of survival.
In sharing with you the highs AND the lows, there were a number of mistakes I made (as well as great decisions too!)
I've had two separate investors, both of them have been a mistake, yet good learning experiences!  Why?  Well, I trusted them as experts more than I trusted myself… that was my biggest mistake!  I'M the expert.  YOU'RE the expert.  You need to learn to trust your instincts, we're women after all, and we have fantastic intuition, so believe in your gut feeling, and follow the path that may not make sense at the time, but it FEELS right.  Talk to people, ask lots of questions, read, investigate, research, find alternative ways of doing things when it's all not going right.  Downsize (swallow your pride if need be!) when the time is right.  Upsize with your eyes wide open.  
Five years into the business I launched the Nature's Child brand.  The first investment allowed this to happen.  I was so excited that SOMEONE wanted to invest in ME that I agreed to things that I lived to regret.  Now I have another whole section of the business - wholesaling, so I've moved down the road of having agents, doing trade shows, dealing with manufacturing issues, product quality issues, legal issues - the ISSUES keep raising their ugly little heads and demanding to be sorted out!
Online retailing has had its ups and downs also … but having three sections of the business; (1) retail (brick and mortar) shop, (2) wholesale (Nature's Child products) and (3) online shop it keeps it interesting, and it covers all the bases.  Retail shopping, the state of retail and how to adapt is of interest to people wholesaling as much as retailers.  Times are a-changing, and we HAVE to change too.  
When I have taken a good hard look at myself and the way I run my business, the thing that has stood out for me the most at all times, is the TRIPLE BOTTOM LINE.  That's the PEOPLE, PLANET and PROFIT.  (Or the three pillars).  They are my values for measuring organisational success - economic, ecological and social.  As i've done my full cost analysis - sustainability has always been the key word.
At times I'm unbalanced - the planet outweighs the profit, or the profit outweighs the people, and so i work constantly at keeping all three P's balancing equally.  Being an ecologically "feel good" business it ensures I sleep well at night knowing that I'm doing right by the world, the environment and yet I'm still able to make a dollar.  
There was so much more that Jannine covered, and then opened her talk up to questions - of which were endless!  She covered online marketing, retailing, manufacturing, organic industry, product development, raising capital, surviving business partnerships, diversifying and selling off part of her business, and what appeared to be everyone's favourite topic - legal battles!  It would seem that Jannine has tried it all, succeeded massively, had down times (like we all do), yet she has done it all with her head held high, her triple bottom line P's in the foreground of her mind, and was an incredibly entertaining speaker who tells it as it is, without gloss, without hype, just honesty, humour and hindsight (those are my triple H's!)
Thanks Jannine - we think you're amazing, and can't wait for part two of your story where we can all learn what happened next?!!!  …. Perhaps she'll post part 2 here on the blog for us all to read.  

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the great summary of last weeks talk. Im thrilled my warts and all approach was welcomed and so useful for many of you. I will have an update on my latest drama with the TGA soon. My next deadline is next Tuesday and then i wait and see a response. Im gonna be working on this all weekend. Will keep you informed!