Recap: Jen on Smarty’s “Reinventing A Category” Panel . . . And Entrepreneurial Tips To Note!

Props to the SMARTY ladies, who sponsored an inspiration-heavy “biz-lebrity” panel at the splendid Los Angeles Herman Miller Showroom last night. If you haven’t heard of the entrepreneurial-support organization that’s SMARTY, make sure to read all about them here! *Cue “girl power” sentiment.

Outside the Herman Miller L.A. Showroom.

Alongside our head honcho, Jen, the panel included Wende Zomnir of Urban Decay and Susan Feldman of One King’s Lane—all wonderful and influential women who can instantly make you feel like an underachiever after reading their one-paragraph bios.

Each brand differs in business model, company-size, and products sold. And each founder faced her own trials and tribulations while building her company. But as a whole, their insight was unparalleled. In short—they know their shit.

Here are some of their pointers on jump-starting and developing your own brand:

•  Always have a “why” and a purpose for your business. If you have no reason to start it, then what is the point of executing it?

• Be clear and specific in describing your brand. When people ask what your company is, be able to answer in one sentence. (For example, Urban Decay’s brand message is “Beauty with an edge” and Knock Knock’s is “We put the fun in functional.”) Also, if you have to explain your company in more than 15 seconds, it’s back to the drawing board for you!

• Don’t be afraid to evolve your brand, but stay true and stay relevant to your original purpose. (Going back to the first point—doy.) Also, don’t be afraid to say “no” to opportunities. But don’t say “no” too early, because you never know what that chance may bring!

• Regarding your website, do the “heavy lifting” for the customer and keep his or her experience simple. While the customer may not always be right, do your planning with his or her benefit in mind.

• Hire people who are already passionate and excited about your company, because that passion is contagious within the team. And a few key qualities to look for in a new-hire: resourcefulness, independence, and innately entrepreneurial.

• Be realistic of your expectations and know your own capabilities. And make sure to surround yourself with a management team whose strongest attributes are your weaknesses. That’s where effective teamwork comes in, peeps!

And finally, be a “productive procrastinator” (a term Jen described herself as). If you’re going to put your agenda off to the wayside, you might as well transfer your energy and time into another project that benefits you in a different facet of your life.

Whew. Brain is in overdrive right now.