Women in Focus is a website and initiative by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. It is a place for women to be inspired, informed and connected with other women in business in Australia and around the world. Angela Vithoulkas, CEO of VIVO Cafe Group, radio broadcaster of Eagle Waves Radio and public speaker, will be the Guru on the Business Beat section and will be providing weekly articles on all things small business.
Don’t you love those ideas that come to you as an epiphany and seem so amazing? They seem clear and strong, quite simple and straight forward. They settle around you like fairy dust and make you have secret smiles, the kind only you can see and feel because you are not ready to share it yet. Then piece by piece it builds in your mind, it makes it to paper, you tell someone and then you have the start of a plan. Uh oh, you now need to put up or shut up. That’s what happened to me 6 months ago.
I have been doing a weekly small business community radio show for the last year. I am pleased to say it has been going well. It certainly isn’t something I planned on doing, but the opportunity came up and I love a challenge….its a flaw I have. Late last year I had an idea - why couldn’t I build my own radio station dedicated to small business? The short answer is I could. The reality of that answer was a whole other universe of challenges.
Business Battle Cry
So I mulled it over, still at the idealistic stage. The voice inside my head was loud and excited - “it’s a great idea, you can have shows that matter to small business, that will help them. You can get amazing guests and really make a difference.” I was all fired up. I don’t know the army mantra but I wanted to push my arm up in the air and yell some kind of battle cry. I started to tell people, and they got excited as well. I was carried away by the wave of support. So I started to plan, for real. On paper real. Business person real. The kind of plan that includes MONEY, otherwise known as reality check!
The big fat elephant in the room of my plan got ignored for as long as I could. Have you heard of “excitement over new project” syndrome? It comes complete with denial and ignorance. I wanted to hang on to that feeling of new idea that just might work for as long as I could. I knew I had some tough questions coming up, I knew that those questions and there answers or lack of answers were going to grow or crush this plan. So why would I rush into that? Alas, that happiness bubble couldn’t last forever.
Online - Real or Not?
So I asked the question - how was I going to make this business model work? How could I take a concept, an idea with no other like it from the mind of a person who had no real experience AT ALL in this area and make it work? I have never built an online business; I’m a café owner, bricks & mortar retailer. The online business world isn’t even real in my mind, I couldn’t see any answers and I was scared. The hard question wasn’t getting resolved and I couldn’t afford expensive hobbies nor justify them to my business partner. I guess I felt I had no right shooting for something I had no business experience in.
So, I was faced with a plan that hit a wall, and an idea that was begging to be delivered. I walked away. I put it on a mental shelf and had to trust that I would find a way to do it if I could find the answer and eliminate the elephant. I did that too. Yep, went on safari and took the sucker down. Sort of anyway.
I came up with the idea of building my studio in my café, of doing live broadcasts from a working café and giving people an experience that might make the “online unreal world” into a tangible experience that would both intrigue and entertain.
I don’t have a lot more for you right now, it’s still very new. I am building an online business - it’s very much a business and it has to perform and deliver just like my café. Funnily enough, once I got passed the online issue in my head, I realised how much in common the business of radio and the café business have in common; I have to get income/sales, build my database/customers, deliver a unique product consistently and I have a perishable / live product. No do over.So glad I came up with an idea that is simple and easy - not!
I’m learning a lot, mostly about how much I don’t know and everyday brings its own new challenges. I have always said I wasn’t afraid of hard work, but this online stuff isn’t a walk in the park. At least in my café world I can see my competitors… www.fraserstcreative.com.au made this video capturing 3 days of construction.
Have you had an epiphany, that you haven’t been able to lay to rest - is the idea still sitting dormant, become a reality or in the planning phase - why do you believe the idea is feasible?