Flexibility is the key to business success
Starting your own business is an exciting yet sometimes challenging journey for many women today. Although running a business has its own set of pressures, the satisfaction of taking an idea and seeing it come to life is what’s most rewarding.
This is what drew my co-founder (Noga Edelstein) and I to start on-demand cleaning and gardening business, UrbanYou. As working mums, we experienced first-hand the challenge of trying to maintain a home while juggling career, family and lifestyle. Knowing there had to be a better way, we set out to find a solution and the reward has been to watch a concept grow rapidly into a business, which has been embraced by so many people in a similar position.
Today, we have grown from a boot-strapped company into a market leader, which was oversubscribe in our initial seed round. We’re now embarking on Series A fund raise to continue our exponential growth into new markets, build-out our product development roadmap, and execute against go-to-market sales strategies & partnerships
By no means has this been an easy journey but we have learnt a lot on our path to success.
One challenge we initially faced was determining exactly who our target market would be. As a home services provider, we considered our key audience would be much like ourselves – busy working women. And, our initial market research confirmed this thinking. However, when launching the platform, we discovered the target market was much larger, consisting of any time-poor Australian – both with and without families. This meant we had to quickly refocus our business model to better address this market opportunity and enable greater growth.
Another challenge we faced was in deciding what we should offer our customers. In the early days, we had lots of categories such as pet care, cleaning, and even travel management. By offering so many services inside and outside the home, we had become the jack of all trades and master of none.
Taking a step back, we were quick to recognise that at the heart, we were a services business, one reliant on trust, reliability and quality. We scaled back our service and decided to hone in on the most popular categories; cleaning and gardening. We dedicated time to building an exceptional network of local service professionals (accepting less than 10% that applied). Once the model and network foundation were in place, we then established a highly trained customer service arm, which would drive the customer experience for our brand. Finally, we’ve instigated a strict ratings & reviews system, to maintain quality control and incentivise our providers, and we’re proud to say we have a 93% 5-star rating from customers.
It’s been an exciting journey and one which we’re still thrilled to be on.
For those looking to follow on our heels, my three top tips would be:
1. Listen and learn – no one can get everything right straight from the off. Be prepared to listen to advice and learn from what’s working and what’s not. Embrace every opportunity – positive or negative, there will always be an outcome to learn or strive from.
2. Believe in yourself – no one knows your business better than you do. Have faith in your ideas and don’t fight the urge to just go for it!
3. Whatever happens, there will be learnings or successes that will make you stronger.