For new business owners, Stephen has one crucial bit of advice: focus on what you do best and delegate the tasks you feel less passionate about. In Stephen's case, that was financial reporting. ‘For me, that was always a bit of a chore. I never really enjoyed it. There was always something more pressing to do,’ he says.
‘To be able to have a system in place where you could just press a button and have accurate reporting – that was a godsend. I'd definitely recommend that and bring that in as early as possible. Don't try to do everything yourself.’
For Stephen, one of the most important things in any business is financial control. ‘Know what your paperwork trail is. Whether that's digital or manual, have a handle on it,’ he says. It's not only important from an admin point of view, but it can provide a wealth of useful information. ‘Whether that's finding out what your bestsellers are, getting rid of lines that take a long time to sell or finding you're spending too much on packaging,’ Stephen explains, ‘you can only realize that through financial controls and a software package like QuickBooks to give you that data.’
Having the knowledge to make informed decisions is an important part of running a retail store in today's economic environment. But, sometimes, it's about having the confidence to go with your gut while others are dialing back on risk. And, according to Stephen, there's great opportunity in these moments. ‘Fortune favors the brave,’ he says. ‘If you don't do something when you have the impulse to do it, then you just never do it. If we listened to the naysayers in 2009, we wouldn't be in business today.’