Ever wonder how successful businesses get started? Do they start with a structured business plan and stick to it or do they evolve over time? BusinessNewsDaily asks small businesses to take us behind the scenes and reveal the truth about the struggles of starting and running a small business.
This week's Behind the Business Plan features Social Goodies, a website focused on funding the good work of great charities via the sale of curated lifestyle, home, beauty and fashion deals. For this startup, based in Pasadena, Calif., charity is not a gimmick — it's Social Goodies' entire reason for being in business. That's why the company does things a bit differently than its peers. It donates 20 percent of the gross purchase price of every deal to three carefully selected charities. Social Goodies has established a win-win-win for its charities, retailers and customers that is helping to redefine the way that sustainable business is done. Social Goodies' founder, Carrie Salter, tells us about the reality behind the business plan. [Read related article: The Best Business Plan Software]
BusinessNewsDaily: How long have you been in business?
Carie Salter: Social Goodies officially launched on May 23, 2011. However, the business had been in development since 2009.
BND: Did you have a formal business plan or did your business just evolve naturally?
C.S.: We had a formal business plan, however, the plan evolved over time as we became more familiar with the marketplace and our customers.
BND: Either way, how close has your business stayed to what you originally envisioned it to be?
C.S.: The mission of Social Goodies has remained unchanged since the start: to fund the good work of great charities by creating a win-win-win for charities, retailers and customers. We continue to remain committed to funding three well-vetted charities at a time by selling national deals on phenomenal lifestyle, home, beauty and fashion products.
BND: How did you finance the business at the beginning or at any time you were in business?
C.S.: Social Goodies has been funded personally since its inception. We did not want to compromise our ability to fulfill our core mission.
BND: How much did you invest?
C.S.: More than I anticipated and less than I could afford.
BND: If you had it to do over again, what would you do differently when starting your business?
C.S.: Social Goodies is still relatively new and we're continuing to learn as we go, so I may look back on this answer in a year and have a completely different perspective. From where I sit now, I think I could have controlled expenses even more than I did by having the confidence to rely less on certain industry experts.
BND: What's your best advice for someone with a great business idea who wants to give it a shot?
C.S.: Believe in yourself and your idea, make sure to keep expenses as low as possible, surround yourself with talented, inspired people, and go for it! There’s nothing worse than living with regret. People will try to dissuade you from starting your own business. Listen to their criticism and see if they make any cogent points (if they do, address them in your business model), but don't let them crush your dream.