A few years ago, Jessie Goh decided on a whim to purchase a Sydney baby and toddler store she saw advertised online. The business came with no formal books, so Jessie had to start from scratch. But with the support of her husband Will and MaxMyProfit, Jessie has established a company that has a return on investment that most Business Owners would envy.
Although there were many challenges for Jessie in running a retail business without any retail experience, these were the three main issues she had to overcome
Jessie first met their business coach Craig and MaxMyProfit founder Brad Sugars at the end of 2009. Jessie and Will were running a music school at the time and were looking for their next challenge. In March 2010, Jessie found an advertisement for a baby and toddler retail store being sold on Gumtree for around $6,000 plus stock which was valued at $4000.
Jessie sat outside the inner-west business on a Saturday before the purchase and watched customer interaction at the store itself as well as the Business potential in ‘target’ customers passing by. Seeing plenty of possibilities for improvement, Jessie purchased the business and immediately renamed it ‘Summerlane’. Her initial intention was to buy, build and sell the company, but five years later she is still the happy owner.
A major challenge for Jessie initially was the fact the previous owner had no system or information in place, and reporting was non-existent. Although she got a great purchase price, she did have to build the business from scratch.
Solution: Jessie enrolled in a Coaching Programme and got clear on the goals for the Business and the priorities for creating an enterprise that works ‘Without the Owner’. From the outset, Jessie used cloud software in her systemisation, even before it began to grow in popularity. The test and measure gathered over time was then used to plan everything from Purchasing and Marketing Plans, to recruitment strategies, to an Online Presence.
Summerlane operates as both a bricks and mortar and online store. Since Jessie bought the business, four different companies that were suppliers have now become competitors, deciding to sell online directly to the public.
Solution:Jessie quickly changed over her stock lines and suppliers to maximise her gross profit and therefore turn over double and triple her initial investment each month. Then it was about trial and error and researching to see the brands that people were talking about. After three to four years, she felt like she had the right product mix, and could be more selective with suppliers. Online has been a constant learning curve for Jessie and regular, objective Coaching with her business coach has been a valuable asset.
The work-life balance is paramount to Jessie and Will, as he continues to operate the music school and she uses their third bedroom as an office, as Summerlane’s store doesn’t have a back room.
Solution: Right at the beginning of the process, the couple did an Alignment with their Business Coach to ensure they were on the same page with the new business. This is a crucial process for life and business partners, and in this case Jessie and Will are both. Jessie credits Coaching with saving their relationship; going so far as to admit ‘she would not be married to Will if it wasn’t for our business coach’.
The first chief outcome was Jessie’s Return on Investment, as Jessie went from a $10,000 purchase including stock, to Summerlane earning $180,000 in its first 12 months. In three years Jessie has successfully prepared her business to ‘Work without Her’ in line with the original goal.
After 3 years, Jessie and Will enjoyed three months in Europe and Summerlane thrived in her absence, as she recruited two assistants with different skillsets. One focused on retail merchandising and the other handled the technology and finance.
Jessie believed her mindset changed thanks to Coaching as she learned to think outside the box and look for opportunities rather than focus on the negatives. She is now the owner of a challenging and profitable business that is independent of its owner with excellent systems in place. Her coach says Jessie has gained an experience in business that can’t be monetised, and she wholeheartedly agrees.