In the journey of building my last business, I remember wanting so badly to be successful and prove to my parents and the world that I had what it took. I worked hard relentlessly for years and eventually achieved the material stuff and accolades that evoked the picture of success, but oddly, I never felt really “successful.” Eventually I realized it was because I was so focused on “trying to make it” that I hadn’t developed a deeper sense of my purpose and what really made me happy. Though many experiences inspired my career transition into my current venture, it was an in-depth conversation with Jane Wurwand, founder of the global skincare company Dermalogica, that always resonated with me. I thought, here is a woman who has built a quarter-of-a-billion-dollar business by training skin therapists and innovating products that would physically touch and improve people’s lives, while never compromising her vision, values or mission.
Whether you work for a company or are venturing on your own, here are four passionate business tips courtesy of Jane from which we can all learn. May her words of hard-earned wisdom guide your subconscious business minds as much as they have mine over the years.
1. Pursue the Mission and the Money Will Come
I get it. It’s easy to get caught up in defining your business model, how you will make money, and differentiating yourself from the competition, especially when investors, parents and cousins need an elevator pitch they can understand. But as Jane reiterated to me, if you pursue and prioritize the mission (a.k.a., the problem you’re looking to solve in the world or the pain in the marketplace you’re trying to relieve), you will win in business because that integrity will be ingrained in every aspect of the company from customer experience to product quality to brand messaging.
2. Be Your Brand Missionary and Hire the Dream Believers
Jane reminded me that it is the role of the entrepreneur “to be their brand missionary, right in the beginning and all the way through” to the end because no one can know the brand better and sell the brand dream more passionately than the proud parent. She also has a firm belief in hiring those who believe in your dream as much as you do, over fancy pedigrees and resumes.
3. Visualize Your BIG Dreams
My company’s mission is to ignite women to dream and do big with passion and purpose, so we’re not arguing with Jane on this one. The question is, are you writing the script of your own life and are you writing it big enough? Jane urges us to not only dream big but to actually practice visualizing and seeing what you want the goals to look like… all the way to the packaging of your product and what the customer is wearing while buying it. Ok maybe I’m stretching her words a bit, but you get the picture. Start a visioning journal and always keep it handy; you never know when creativity will kick in and how much this exercise will see you bringing your dreams into reality.
4. Companies Marketing to Women Should Empower Women
While this piece of advice truly related to my work, I think it also speaks to the universal principle of baking purpose into your brand and product. It’s a no-brainer to me that female-targeting brands must continue to innovate and communicate how they are empowering women within their lifestyle. And if that entails a cause-initiative, then by all means, they should tie that messaging into to their mainstream marketing. Jane got this memo a long time ago, and her philanthropic efforts led her to create joinFITE. She reminds us of the ripple effect and global good that investing in women causes: “When you invest in a woman and a woman creates her own income, she reinvests about 90 percent of her income…into her society.”
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