Welcome to the second update from shoe guru Susannah Davda from The Shoe Consultant. What does being a Shoe Consultant mean? Susannah explains: “I help people to start shoe brands in a strategic way. I also work on research, development and range planning projects for established footwear brands and retailers”. She joined in June 2015, and I interviewed her again in August 2016, this was where she wanted to be by now: “I’d like to take on more consultancy clients, grow my other services, and be taking a salary”. Lee’s see how she’s doing now!
Hello Susannah! So, are you where you thought you’d be when you looked forward a year ago?
Yes, pretty much. I’ve gained additional consultancy clients and taken on some exciting new projects. The B2B side of The Shoe Consultant is really the focus of most of my time at the moment. Regarding salary, I’m in a position to pay myself but have adopted the strategy of investing profits back into the business first. In a few months’ time, I’ll put myself on the payroll.
Sounds good. What has changed and what has stayed the same?
I’m busier than ever. Since my son started nursery in January, my workload has expanded to fill the available time and then some! I still have the same focused approach. I only work with shoe-related things, and always keep the company mission in mind: shoes should be comfortable and beautiful.
What have you learned? What do you wish you’d known a year ago?
That persistence pays off when it come to late payments from clients. If somebody is late paying according to the due date on the invoice, don’t let it go. Just calmly explain to them that as detailed on the gov.uk website, you’ll be charging daily interest on the money owed. I had no idea I could even charge interest until an accountant friend of mine told me.
Any more hints and tips for people?
Take time away from your desk to think. Some of my best business planning is done away from my desk. Running or going for a walk is good for gaining a little perspective.
And … where do you see yourself and your business in a(nother) year’s time?
I would like to be in a position to be more selective about the projects I choose to work on.
I can certainly back up the idea that going for a run is good for business – it clears the head and things you’ve been mulling over can suddenly work themselves out – a bit like sleeping on a problem. It’s also good for us desk-bound people, too!
If you’ve enjoyed this interview, please see more small business chat, the index to all the interviewees, and information on how you can have your business featured (I have a full roster of interviewees now so am only taking on a very few new ones). If you’re considering setting up a new business or have recently done so, why not take a look at my books, all available now, in print and e-book formats, from a variety of sources.