Ichiban Commercial Solutions: Baby Steps from StartUp to Teenager
In March 2016, I did a 10 minute presentation on Ichiban Commercial Solutions startup. The presentation presented us with an opportunity reflect upon our startup and how far we have come.
The Ichiban journey started in the second half of 2015 and really set out as a baby in the business.
Not fully a year later (March 2016), with many lessons learned, we are in what I call our teenage phase.
No different to any teenager, we do not just accept any good advice, we cannot be taught too many things (not really, I learn every day still!!) and do have a well developing attitude about many things in business.
When I mentor people in procurement and business owners, I often advise that they should stop and reflect on how far they have come. Take time to celebrate.
It is therefore only appropriate that I do the same.
Thus here is my recap on Ichiban’s baby steps from startup to teenager.
It all started in 2015. Or maybe long time ago when my dad instilled in me:
It does not matter what you do or where you get to; always make sure you do your best.
Ichiban Baby steps: Startup to Teenager
When I made the decision that I wanted to start my own procurement advisory firm, my main motivation was to be able to do procurement differently.
I have always worked and still do from a basis of building partnerships. Not only talking about partnerships but truly looking for key business partners. Thus I knew I wanted to be able to expand my reach further through consulting than I would be able to do working as an employee.
The things I knew when I started out as a green startup:
I knew about the:
- importance of the partnerships
- need to make a difference in procurement
- requirement to connect and network
- patience and time to build proper business foundations
- importance of being clear on my WHY.
The things I did not know as a green startup:
I did not know:
- where to start
- what the heck an avatar had to do with business
- the right place for connecting and networking
- 30 second elevator pitches!
What did I learn in my startup phase:
- I have amazing connections
- support is necessary
- great affordable help is available
- power of content
- Youtube and Canva.
I have to mention Business Foundation here. This is an amazing, incredible value for money service funded by the WA Government. I learned many basics about networking, marketing and running a business through the workshops and mentoring that is available through Business Foundations.
In the process of stepping up to being a teenager in business, I have learned that I can and should trust my instinct and intuition. It works well for me.
I am grateful for the long lasting partnerships and connections that I am fortunate to have made over time. Do you really know how many people you from all walks of life, different areas of business? I did not until I went into business.
Finding inspiration makes a difference. I am lucky to have made connections with many inspirational people and I learn many valuable lessons from them.
Stopping and reflecting on Ichiban from startup to teenager, is also a good opportunity to review who our ideal clients are:
Our ideal client:
This has been an interesting part of our journey and has certainly been developing in a fascinating way.
It is great to work with all of our clients, big and small.
In the end, whether one works within a procurement team or consults, it is always about the client and what the client wants.
It is a privilege to be able to deliver value for money services to our clients.
Ichiban Baby Steps from Startup to Teenager
So what do teenagers do in business?
Well, we do what good consultants are meant to do.
We have an opinion and we blog about it.
We even do social media and you can follow us in various ways:
We even do Facebook!
And finally, it is our mission to keep things simple.
Lessons Learned from our Startup phase:
The startup phase is a really important phase in building business capability. It is the phase where most businesses fail and fewer succeed. It is tougher than one could imagine but the rewards come in such a different format.
- Trust your instinct – make time to listen to your instinct
- Know your finances and numbers, even when those are not good
- Track progress
- Be agile and adapt
- Know your why and work on becoming as clear as possible as you can around your why
- Work out what your customers want
- Ask for help
- Find a buddy that will keep you sane and pull you up from the mud in those dark days.
- Keep your sense of humour.
If you missed our last newsletter on how to explain procurement to a 7 year old, please click here to read it. Sign up for our newsletters, here. We will certainly aim to bring a lot more simplicity to you over time. It seems to be our thing and therefore – why not?
Thank you for sharing our journey and we look forward to sharing the next phase with you too!
Have a great day
Post Note: January 2017
How refreshing to look at this presentation and reflect on how far we have come. In 2016, we set some lofty targets and goals and achieved quite a few. Some we did not achieve.
However, the most important goal for us is to remain true to our why, both on a business and personal front. Our why keeps us on track.
Looking forward to wrapping up the teenager phase and expand our business in 2017.
Celia Jordaan is procurement and risk consultant at Ichiban Commercial Solutions, Perth Western Australia. With over 20 years experience, Celia has worked in different countries, locations and cultures. She worked in the areas of procurement, supply chain, contract management, law and risk.
For more tips, checklists and free resources on procurement, please visit our website.