Business IQ

The 3 Ways RedBalloon Embraced Bootstrapping

Tiffany Loh
Smarter Writer

Tiffany Loh is the Smarter Business™ & News and Digital Editor, with varied writing experience always looking for a unique story

Tiffany Loh
Smarter Writer

Tiffany Loh is the Smarter Business™ & News and Digital Editor, with varied writing experience always looking for a unique story

Naomi Simson, Founding Director of RedBalloon, shares her bootstrapping secrets.

red balloon
It doesn’t have to be a sexy or ground-breaking or technologically advanced idea, but all of the great businesses you can think of solve a problem.

- Naomi Simson, RedBalloon

Ask the Right Questions

Don’t Ask, “Will it Work?” Ask, “Why Do I Want it To?” I’m approached regularly by people wanting to share new business ideas with me. The first question they ask is “Will it work?” My response to that is always the same – “Why do you want it to?” Working out why you want to start a business – let alone keep on running it for a good proportion of your adult life – is essential to sustaining you, and ultimately sustaining the success of the enterprise. RedBalloon was not the first business idea I had – but as I look back now I realise that of all the ideas I had, it was the one that inspired me, and I could see myself making a difference.As I learned later when I did a Harvard Business course, the idea was a ‘disruptive’ innovation. It brought a new product to an existing market through delivering experiences cheaply and quickly – and the incumbent dominant gift retailers would not have seen us coming.

 

It's Never Just a Good Idea

If I’ve learnt anything from starting RedBalloon, it’s that businesses are one per cent idea and 99 per cent execution. You do still need that bright, shining idea though – without it you only have hard work. It doesn’t have to be a sexy or ground-breaking or technologically advanced idea, but all of the great businesses you can think of solve a problem. Facebook was about keeping college students connected; Google was about making the world’s information accessible; and think of the number of problems Apple has solved. So the first step on creating a viable business is to work out what problem you are solving – stated simply, ‘what is your purpose’?

It’s Not About the Money

I know what you’re thinking… now’s the time to run your own show; you have read about all of these entrepreneurial heroes who have created amazing ‘overnight’ success stories and you think, “I could do that”. All you need now is an idea and, once you think of that, the business will simply slip into place and you’ll be on your way to being rich in no time at all. But let me tell you this, if you are driven solely by financial success in business, think again. Great businesses solve a problem; they make life ‘easier’ – they do things that have not been done before. They make a difference to other human beings. You could argue that great businesses make the world a better place.

Find out more

From a simple idea, RedBalloon was born. about their story here.

Find Out More

New report reveals small businesses lagging behind customers in tech
Trends
New report reveals small businesses lagging behind customers in tech

According to the 2018 Telstra Small Business Intelligence Report, customers increasingly use technology to find products and research businesses. Yet many small businesses are ...

5 simple ways to earn your customers' loyalty online
Tech Solutions
Tech Solutions
5 simple ways to earn your customers' loyalty online

Do you know what experience your customers want online to keep them loyal? Keep them coming back with these 5 simple, effective strategies. Today’s customers have a lot of choi...

Woman swiping card
Customer Experience
Customer Experience
5 easy secrets to customer loyalty

When small businesses want to boost customer loyalty, they often focus on dis-counts and special offers. However, there are many more ways you can make customers feel all that ...

Man sitting down using tablet
Customer Experience
Customer Experience
Tech: the new customer charmer

While many businesses look at technology as a way to make them more productive, others see it as an opportunity to delight customers. Adding a little tech to your business coul...