What It Means To Be Wrong!
Bodyshots is an online business that prides itself on providing the perfect night in as an alternative to going out… we are going to kill it (after catching it and binning it of course) during Quarantine! Well that is exactly what we thought would happen, but it didn’t quite turn out that way.
Even though each time we had been wrong in the past, it had led to us becoming better, every time you find yourself back in that dark lonely place of wrongness, the past triumphs seem to have a very limited impact on lifting your spirits. Perhaps, this time all we needed to do was look back at how our box design has evolved over the last year to keep faith in the fact its okay to be wrong. But this time felt a little different; higher stakes maybe, perhaps it was these unprecedented times (a phrase I hope well and truly stays in 2020). Nevertheless we found ourselves staring the prospect of being wrong, straight down the barrel and something beautiful happened.
At the start of quarantine, not only were we passionate about sharing Bodyshots because we like to sell games, but we genuinely felt it could be a unique source of intimacy and light hearted happiness for so many people at a time when the world was being deprived of it. As a small business with limited resources and full time jobs, we weren’t quite sure how to achieve that goal, but it’s amazing how our mission to spread one creation, led to the development of an entirely new creation. It’s easy to write about successes, but we feel it’s so important to use our platform to share the bumps we’ve experienced along the way to show other entrepreneurs, in the real world, it’s not all plain sailing with one milestone after another. We particularly wanted to go through the psychological stages we experienced because having the right mindset is fundamental to success, especially during a time with such heightened emotions and outcomes. There are a lot of stages you go through when reality doesn’t match your expectations, namely…
Stage One – The Excitement Stage
Here you revel in the excitement of being a budding young entrepreneur, you are ready to take on the world, you’ve been operating for 6 months so surely you’ve seen everything the business world has to throw at you. Not only are you going to survive lockdown, you’re going to thrive through it. Reap the financial rewards associated with the rampant sales figures that prove the idea you had about super close up pictures of body parts was a winner. Our resources may be tight, but we’re going to ramp up everything because it’s the best thing to do. I must say this was a nice stage to be in before swiftly coming across stage two.
Stage Two – Execution
This stage is short but crucial. You have a plan in place, you understand why it should work and fully expect it to do so. You have completed the market testing and are resolute in your rationale ready to move forward. You have a great product which you are proud of and love. You want to spread it around the world to help people during an extraordinarily difficult time.
Stage Three- Troubleshooting
I think there are two stages that can follow execution, one path is that euphoric record breaking sales I described above, or you end up in the troubleshooting phase which I hate to say is the more regular outcome. With the benefit of hindsight I can say its all part of the journey, but without that benefit, I can only say is it’s all part of the frustration. Despite all our best efforts, something just wasn’t working. Things were not scaling as planned. Things were working before, but suddenly it stopped. Was it something with the algorithm, something with our website, google ads simply conspiring against us? You are always told, look in the mirror before trying to blame anyone/anything else, but despite my best effort to find a blemish on anything we were doing, I was perfectly sure I was doing everything correctly. Blind confidence… a gift and a curse I suppose.
Stage Four – Analysis Paralysis
After a long day in the proverbial office, it was time to clock in to Bodyshots HQ and dig through the data again trying to find that critical data point that would make everything make sense. This went on for weeks and alas I couldn’t see it. Then, to quote another classic cliché, we took a step back. It was like the Da Vinci code revealing itself, it all made sense in one swift moment of serene clarity. Something so simple, we had run out of stock on our Extra Spicy game. We weren’t able to offer our best selling bundle to international markets, of course it makes perfect sense. I guess after 6 successful months, there were indeed still things for us to learn. Delivery costs really do matter, who would have guessed? Finally, we have unchained ourselves from the demoralizing shackles of analysis paralysis… now to find the solution.
Stage Five – The Reaction
Personally, I think this is the most important stage. It’s a beautiful thing when something that once seemed impossible to solve can now be brushed aside. Something that once was a source of frustration and defeat is now a source of inspiration to make the business more resilient. Its almost like before, you were able to see the path forward in 720p, and now you’ve unlocked 1080p (albeit still waiting to unlock that elusive 4K!). So, we asked ourselves, do we order more so we can get back out there. Do we wait until after lockdown and continue to sell the Original version of the game? Or do we use this opportunity to really make a difference? Right now, we could continue selling to couples, but what about everyone else that hasn’t quite been lucky enough to meet their beloved? How do we transition to the next level of growth? We must challenge ourselves to design a new game! Bodyshots stands for creativity and sharing moments, why limit that to couples. Now this led to the second half of quarantine being super busy for us, but not in the way we expected. We’ve continued to sell the Original deck and have been working tirelessly to create, design and test a new deck in time for the end of Quarantine here in the UK. It’s funny, that if everything had originally gone to plan, we may never have sat down to challenge ourselves on what the true next step for the business should be. It’s easy to get caught up in sales targets and lose what is at the essence of your brand, which in our case, is creating unique experiences for people to share. Now before I get too excited, I promised the team we would save our journey on creating the new deck for a future blog, as here we wanted to focus on the journey during quarantine rather than the successes. But remember that’s exactly what it is; a journey. With left and right turns and plenty of traffic to navigate through, the key is to be agile and ready to react, even if sometimes that means an emergency break!
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