Finding The Balance

One of the things I have to keep reminding myself of as the CEO of ethical fashion startup, is to make time for myself and my family. When you are the CEO of a new startup, you don’t have the same working hours as a lot of people, there’s no contractual 45 hours a week or suchlike. You work as much as you can because you want to see your company succeed. If you work from home like I do a lot of the time, it can be really hard to draw the line between your life and the company’s. Burnout
Since starting BODO UK, I’ve had to make a lot of sacrifices, in the terms of giving up a lot of time that I would have spent doing things I enjoyed. Whilst I don’t regret any of it for a second, because I am committed to seeing my dream turn into a reality with the success of BODO, I have learnt that it is important to ensure that you maintain some sort of balance and that you make time for yourself too.

Of course it’s highly unlikely that you will have the same amount of free time as someone contracted to a 9-5 job, if you want to succeed, it takes masses of hard work and a lot of that will have to come out of your own time. The trick is to maintain that balance, to make sure Balanceyou do give some time to your family, friends and loved ones so that they don’t end up resenting you. Just as important is finding the time for yourself, to relax and unwind otherwise you’ll be looking at a burnout and trust me, that really isn’t fun. It’s different for everyone of course, some need more (or differing types) of downtime than others, some will prefer to interject regular downtime into their daily routines, whereas others will prefer to work solidly for long periods of time, juxtaposing these periods with a day or two away from the grindstone. That is down to the individual and it’s finding what works best for you and your company that’s important. If you don’t take this time, your health, happiness and your productivity will suffer, that’s why I’ll implore any new CEO to put every effort into getting that balance right.


Knowing The Law

One of the most important things for any newly starting CEOs is to know the law regarding their employee rights and for the specifics of their Lawcompany.
What tends to happen with a lot of start-up CEOs is that these are people who, just a few weeks ago, were designers or entrepreneurs with grand ideas and visions. But then, once that vision gets the impetus to become a reality and an actual company with real-life employees, bills, letters and a never ending list of important emails to answer, things can get a little hairy. Most start-up CEOs aren’t like the CEOs of established corporations as usually those people got where they are because of their knowledge of the sector and all that goes with it.
A lot of the time a creative person with the original idea is catapulted from being someone with goal or vision, to someone in charge of lots of money and people all looking up to them for instruction and guidance.
This is why it is important to have a clear understanding of the law. There’s no point bringing out a product that someone else has already copyrighted – a very basic example, but I’m sure you’ll catch my drift. In much the same way, you wouldn’t want your young company coming unstuck simply because of an utterly avoidable lawsuit because you didn’t pay attention to health and safety regulations in the workplace.
It would also be completely tragic for your company to come unstuck because you didn’t treat your employees right and they end up walking away and joining your competitor, or worse, suing you for failing to uphold the basic rights of their contracts.
In this way, I’m lucky, because coming from a recruitment background and having worked in the employment sector for many years, I already had quite substantial knowledge on the subject before starting BODO UK. I’ve made sure to implement this knowledge in the running of BODO UK and I feel it has really helped me to avoid certain pitfalls.
For anyone starting their own company, or thinking of setting up a start-up, I cannot emphasize the importance of it enough. I know for many creative types, the legality side of things can seem a little boring, but it is definitely worth slogging through!

BODO Progress Report – Delivering Our Sandals To Barefoot Foundation

One of the main reasons I started this blog was to give fans and followers of BODO UK an insight into what it was like being a CEO of an ethical

Our Donation Sandal

Our Donation Sandal

fashion start-up and keep them up to date on the goings on behind the scenes of the company.
One of the things that a lot of people involved in start-ups can find really frustrating is just how long it takes to get the ball rolling and get your idea or product out there. There’s always going to be a lot of red tape to wade through, ‘i’s’ to dot and ‘t’s’ to cross, so when you finally start taking those steps towards your vision becoming a reality, it’s a really great feeling.
This week was a good week for myself and for BODO UK as we took what can be seen as the first steps in our partnership with Barefoot Foundation (Pies Descalzos Foundation). We handed over a package of approximately 90 pairs of the pre-production retail version of the BODO Sandal to Barefoot Foundation, so they had the opportunity to see first hand, the quality of our product and decide where best to distribute it.
As my regular readers will know, we haven’t started selling the BODO Sandal as yet, (our retail launch won’t be long though hopefully) however we wanted to get some samples of our product to the people at Barefoot Foundation and begin what will hopefully be a long and successful working relationship with this incredible charity.
It’s a really good feeling to know that it won’t be long before our product is reaching those in need and that we can start making a big difference.

Sorting The ‘Talkers’ From The ‘Doers’

If you want to be a successful CEO, one of the most important things and something I learnt the hard way very early on, is learning to sort those who “talk the talk” from those who “walk the walk”. talkers quote
Unfortunately there are a lot of silver-tongued people out there who can talk the talk, convince you that they are the best in the business, will get you Forbes magazine before the end of the month and promise you success beyond your wildest dreams and so and so forth, but who simply cannot (or will not) deliver.
These are the so-called, “talkers” and what I’ve found (though this isn’t always the case) is that they will sell themselves better than the “Doers”, those who do actually have the skills, experience and aptitude to help your company succeed. In my experience, the “Doers”, the ones that have actually delivered on promises and contracts, are much more humble in the way in which they pitch themselves, than those who quite frankly, are just full of hot air (and that’s putting it politely!)
doersDon’t get me wrong, some of the most successful folk will also have the silver-tongues and this breed can walk the walk as well as they talk the talk. But it is very important for CEO’s, especially those working on shoestring budgets, to be able to weed out the bad seeds.
I cannot stress enough the importance of checking references when deciding to employ people or grant contracts. These days it is much easier because the internet has opened up a whole new avenue on which to find out about potential employees. As well as checking with the referees provided (because most people have ways in which to provide references that don’t tell the whole story) it is always worth doing a little bit of internet fact checking. Of course, with some employment roles it will be harder to find details on the internet, than per se if you were checking up on someone who claimed to be an internet whizzkid or social media supremo, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to look!
At the end of the day, you have to protect your assets and dishing out large sums of money to a person or contractor who isn’t going to provide the goods, is a sure-fire way to put unnecessary strain on your budget!!

Keeping Your Accounts In Order

When you are a visionary entrepreneur or CEO with an idea of creating something brilliant or world-changing, it can sometimes be difficult to Financial Paperworkturn your attentions from the creative and enjoyable side of what you are doing and sort out the tedious stuff like tax returns and other financial paperwork!
Unless you are financial wizard and enjoy the paperwork side of running a business as much as the creative stuff, then learning to channel your focus on what many may deem as the “boring” side of the business can be a real challenge.
This is something I know about first hand, I mean, I’d much rather being working on promoting BODO’s vision and ideals and trying to make a real lasting difference through my organisation, rather than doing tax returns, but the reality of it is that you won’t be able to do one without the other.
Of course there will be some of you out there who will be lucky enough to have accountants and finance officers who you can dump all this sort of stuff on and let them get on with it. However with new start-ups and companies where a large workload is split between a small number of people, the chances are that you are going to have to do a large portion of this sort of stuff yourself.
In these situations, it is important to realise from a very early stage, that this is something that cannot be ignored or left for another time. Nobody wants to incur the wrath of the tax man, simply because they forgot to file that tax return on time, nor do you need to incur unnecessary fines for late payments, or risk alienating your employees because you did not get their wages paid in on time!
It can be tempting to deploy the “I’ll leave it till tomorrow” attitude with parts of the work that you do not enjoy, but this is a sure-fire way to land yourself in trouble, especially with regards to financial paperwork. I’ve found that leaving stuff that you do not find enjoyable, to build up until it becomes a mammoth task, is even more challenging, than if it was tackled in small doses as and when it arises – Don’t wait until you are drowning in it to make a start on it!