Carole-Anne Priest’s favourite entrepreneur is Emma Lo Russo from Digivizer. She says Emma’s courage to keep excelling at different tasks, and her commitment towards helping other women in business is what strikes her as one of the greatest role models for women entrepreneurs. But what she has neglected here is Carole-Anne herself is part of this pack of great women entrepreneurs.
Imalia, Carole-Anne’s insurance and financial services business, was born from her desire to develop a new way forward for women in the financial services space. By making the service more customised for women, the idea is to educate the women about the importance of being financially aware.
Being an entrepreneur is the part Carole-Anne loves most about her work. There are no boxes to fit in to but her own at Imalia. She can be whatever she wants to be at Imalia because being an entrepreneur means she creates reality from her dreams.
Advice that Carole-Anne wishes she’d been given when she started her business:
- No business is easy all the time- a little bit like life. There will be the ups but there will also be many downs. Successful businesses are run by people who not only have a great product or service but also have the stamina and the fortitude to withstand rejection, failed ideas and not enough sales.⁃ No business is easy all the time- a little bit like life. There will be the ups but there will also be many downs. Successful businesses are run by people who not only have a great product or service but also have the stamina and the fortitude to withstand rejection, failed ideas and not enough sales.
- Offer what people want to buy, not just what you want to sell. Too often people jump into a business built around a product or service they think will be successful rather than one that is already proven to have a market. Testing is vital, as is a real understanding of the market value of what you’re offering.
- Friends can help in every part of life but when you are starting a business you really need people to talk to. You need people to vent to, commiserate with you and cheer you on. Having a cheer squad is vital for your mental health. Friends, partners, mentors, startup hubs, associations and networking groups will help keep you sane and focused and energized.
Carole-Anne’s advice for someone who’s thinking about starting his or her own business:
Have you created the most awesome muesli in the world? What happens if, god forbid, a nut is rancid and you make someone sick? Better get that Public and Products Liability Policy up and running before that first nut hits the shelves.
Have you got adequate cover for your premises (property and business interruption policy), your equipment (contents insurance) and your staff (workers compensation)? Who is looking after the business if a nut flying out of the machinery hits you and have to have eye surgery and can’t package the muesli (personal accident insurance or income protection or trauma insurance)?
Getting insurance can be boring but it’s not boring when the premises is burning down.
For Carole-Anne, these knowledge areas and skills are essential for anyone starting in business:
Marketing and brand awareness is very important. When you’re starting your business, you have to consider if you have a good name, a logo, and whether to trademark your name and logo.
There was an absolutely amazing restaurant called Taco Bell in Bondi many moons ago. They wished they had trademarked the name because when the American Taco Bell came calling they went out of business. Make sure you put in place adequate protections for your name and logo and your business idea. That means registering a company with ASIC and reserving a business name.
We asked Carole-Anne to identify the problems in her company that HerBusiness membership solves:
HerBusiness provides an opportunity for me to widen my social network. Being an entrepreneur can be a lonely business, but it doesn’t have to be. The more friends and familiar voices you have around you, the more people you can lean on for inspiration, advice, and commiseration. With a cheer squad, the more confident you will be when you face problems in your business.
I love to connect with other women, share my knowledge and learn from theirs. Imalia was built around the needs of women in the financial since I felt there was a dearth of support and opportunity. HerBusiness can provide me with the ability to reach out and build mutually beneficial business relationships while I, in turn, provide opportunities and help to others.