Spanx billionaire stretched herself and hit the jackpot
'Hey girls, have you heard of Sara Blakely?" asked Lucy, as she swung herself back on Abby's sofa. Abby looked up, smug. "The Spanx billionaire? Yes, of course," she said.
Lucy had been inspired by this amazing woman that she'd been reading about in both the women's magazines and the pink financial pages.
"My friend Penny - you know, the one who lost her job in finance?" Abby went on. "Well, she's landed this fabulous job and is now the woman rolling Spanx's competitor Planx to the region."
"Wow," Lucy gasped, impressed, and at the same time thinking of the ad campaign pitches she could put Penny's way …
"This Sara Blakely, she's amazing - a real role model," said Abby. "When you think of the Forbes world billionaires list you typically think of the likes of Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg, but in 2012, when Sara Blakely made the list, I think every woman in the world must have cheered."
Wealth Diva SMS
Want to know Sara Blakely's story in short? .
• At 41, she is the youngest woman on the Forbes list, and the world's first self-made female billionaire, but what makes her story even more interesting is her drive.
• As a 27-year-old, frustrated with a persistent visible panty line when wearing cream pants, she cut the feet off a pair of tights so she could wear her trousers with peep-toe sandals.
• The first attempt rolled up at the ankles, but they sort of worked, and she knew she'd hit on a fantastic idea.
• Armed with just $5,000 of her own savings, she began developing the product in her apartment at nights and on weekends, while working her day job selling fax machines.
• She wrote her own patent and sent a gift basket to Oprah, who chose Spanx as one of her influential favourite things … and never looked back.
"I think every woman has a little bit of Sara Blakely in her," Abby mused. "But so few take it to the next level, when really, there should be no stopping us. We are the She-conomy. And today, if we have a great idea and want to make it happen, our female audience is the one we know best. Profit is at our fingertips."
Wealth Diva SMS
Do you have a good idea? Are you a wannabe entrepreneur? Here are some top tips for turning a great idea into a successful business:
1) Focus on your strengths
There's an old saying: "Do what you do best and delegate the rest". Know what your top strengths are. Focus at least 80 per cent of your time on using your key talents that bring you income.
2) Learn to say "no"
Most women are too over-committed with non-business related activities. Be strategic about what you say yes to, especially in the first few years of your business. Guard your precious time as the valuable asset that it is.
3) Put yourself first
Your growing business needs a lot of time and attention. Many women in business put themselves third or fourth on their list of priorities. Make your plan and know your business commitments and everything else will fall into place.
4) Plan for success
Planning is invaluable because it forces you to think ahead to your vision and formulate the steps to reach your goals. Create a simple one-page marketing plan that outlines your business objectives and how you will achieve them.
5) Engage experts
Don't try to figure it all out by yourself. Engage experts in their field and get the job done properly.
6) Keep an eye on the bottom line
Running a business costs money, but remember that you are also in business to make money. Keep an eye on the bottom line and you'll do fine.
7) Have fun
Life is short, so make sure you have fun along the way, those who have been most successful in life have enjoyed living it.
Janelle Malone is a writer, blogger and wealth commentator on personal finance. You can contact her at www.womenmoneyandstyle.com for any further financial questions you may have.
Updated: May 18, 2013 04:00 AM