3 Big Ideas for Designers, Retailers and Entrepreneurs: Dynamic Thinking, Risk Taking and Growing Your Business

by Atim Annette Oton

The last year has been phenomenal for some designers, retailers and entrepreneurs. I know, I have been working in that space and seeing the real deal of what it takes to be in it, maintain and grow. Yet a good number of designers, retailers and entrepreneurs, I have been watching, have been in the dumps; they have been in what I call mediocre, stagnation place and simply, stuck on the old. This sameness has made them unable to move, change and take their business to the next level. I call it “Pre-2008” thinking and I am calling for “2014 Thinking”. So, I am blogging again to inform and share some of my strategies on how to make this shift, change, take a risk, build and re-build business in these buoyant times. Yes, I said buoyant: plentiful and open for more.



The first big idea I recommend to anyone who is seeking to change is to add a new partner to their business. A new partner brings three things: more cash flow, new energy and new thinking. This year, I am adding a new partner to my business. This partner will allow the business to grow strategically, re-brand with a new name and add two more locations this year with plans for two more next year. Partnership is a risk but I am willing to take it on because I have to grow the business and I have done my analysis on what I need to do so. I took time last year to look at what the business needs and where it needs to go. What I expect is simple: 50% growth and expansion, shared risks, and most importantly, someone to work with on the same level and also someone to move the business ahead when I take a break to think.



The second big idea is so simple: expand your services or products with a new project type or product. Last year, I expanded into producing clothing for the store – on a much larger scale that I have been doing. This new product got a lot of attention, so much so, that I have been asked to produce it and sell it wholesale to two stores, and to also think up a new product for a wholesale distributor who came to see it. The end result is that I have three news way of working: production for wholesale not just retail; new challenges – wholesale clients; and more cash flow and income, thus, expansion of my business. I am venturing in a new realm, taking on more risk, and attaining a new specialty.


Girl-with bucket

The third big idea seems to be the most done by designers, retailers and entrepreneurs, but takes too long to implement. To add staff and space scares most people, I admit it, it does do the same to me. Yet, how can you grow on your own if you do not have another set of hands on deck. New staff brings in new energy, skills and growth to your business. The real trick is to identify what you really need help in before you hire, I call it the things you do not do or never have time for.

2014 is about doing the best kind of business as designers, retailers and entrepreneurs. We have no more excuses. Staying in the safe lane will kill a business. I see it too many times. It is time to change and take a risk. Business life is too short and you invest too much to lose it because of laziness and stagnation. It is time to move ahead. What are you waiting for?


My next blog will deal with Networking, join me next week as I reveal some of the best kept secrets for designers, retailers and entrepreneurs. Interested in thinking like I do and changing your business, I am available for business coaching at atim@blackdesignnews.com or just send me a note below:


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