Laurie Franklin of Unique in the Creek
Laurie Franklin is the winner of our 2020 Startup Award, recognizing her success as a new entrepreneur under 4 years in business with Unique in the Creek.
Laurie is the creative visionary, inventor and CEO of Unique In The Creek (UITC) wreathing boards. After battling 3 spinal surgeries, Laurie was told she couldn’t return to her 25 year career at a local university. She spiralled into a depression, until one day, before heading into surgery, she decided she was going to make a wreath. It was then she discovered a problem: she couldn’t use the standard wire wreath frame while sitting in her recliner.
So she decided she was going to make one that anyone would be able to use to make a wreath, regardless of their skill level, disability or age. After many, many failed attempts, Laurie finally came up with the Unique in the Creek easy to use wreathing boards, and have now had people as young as 7 and as old as 96 make a gorgeous wreath and feel that amazing “I made that” moment!
Laurie’s Tips for Other Women Thinking of Starting a Business
Starting and running your own business can seem insurmountable! No matter how well prepared you are, there will always be something you didn’t consider. First and foremost, starting and running a business is an exercise in learning! Believe it or not, most of what I’ve learned has come through trial, error and epic failure. Perspective matters, learning to appreciate mistakes is paramount and if I had focused on mistakes rather than lessons, I would have given up a long time ago; here are my 5 best takeaways from starting and running a business and falling flat on my face a few times.
My absolute best advice to anyone thinking about starting a business is to start with something you’re passionate about. The learning curve for starting a new business is a steep one, if you have knowledge or passion in an area you won’t be hampered by having to educate yourself on a new concept before you even begin.
Ask for help! This was a tough one for me, I’m stubborn and I hate asking for help but, trust me, you get over it! With Social Media connecting with others has never been easier. Look into local workshops for entrepreneurs, get on Facebook and see what’s happening in your industry and don’t be afraid to reach out to those in it! Research free tools and resources for the industry you want to be in and don’t underestimate connections you make; you’ll be networking the entire way.
Running your own business means you often work endless hours and in order to not burn out, you have to find balance! And, that is almost impossible, you are going to have to work at it. Make sure you make time to unplug and do something for you. Eat well and get your rest, these things become more important as sick days don’t exist when it’s just you. Your mental health is just as important and physical health. Don’t take things so seriously all the time and always remember to laugh and have fun. It makes running your business not such a daunting task when you are enjoying it.
Having the right people in the right place is so important for any company but, for an entrepreneur it becomes even more important. Capable staff that you work well with is an absolute asset and one bad apple can do a lot of damage both to internal and external customers as well as brand image. Research potential employees, call references, double check resume credentials and be picky, the right person can help take you to the next level!
Customers are the lifeblood of any company, serving their needs is paramount to success. After a solid product, offering excellent customer service that is both professional and well planned is one of your best tools for brand loyalty and return sales. No matter the issue, treat your customers well and they will choose you again and again. Most importantly, I remind myself daily that “It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure” (Bill Gates).
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