$5, two weeks, and three lifelong lessons
What would you do if I told you to make as much money as you possibly could with as much capital as you’d need, and as long as you’d need?
What would you do if I told you to make as much money as possible in 3 months with $5,000?
What about if I told you to generate as much profit as you could from a $5 dollar investment, in 2 weeks?
At Sockos, we were given a challenge. As a team, we had to generate as much profit as possible in two weeks, starting with only five dollars. In the two weeks, we made $255.65, half of which will go towards the start up costs for Sockos, and half of which we will be donating to The Lighthouse Foundation, (they are an awesome organisation, helping to support homeless youth in Australia- check them out!)
The challenge certainly kept us on our toes, but the lessons we learned from it will definitely contribute to helping Sockos continue to evolve into a innovative and charitable social enterprise!
A journey of a thousand miles start with a pair of socks (or $5). Here are the top three things we learned:
1. Our customers want an experience, not just a product. Through our journey, we experimented with a number of different ways to help transform out $5 investment into a profit. This included a failed attempt at completing jobs on Airtasker, and encouraging people to guess the amount of jelly beans in the conical flask! However, for both of these ventures, we found ourselves quite unsuccessful.
That was until we trialled a new tactic. I love nail art almost as much as I love socks, so decided to paint nails for some of my peers. I painted swirls and anchors and stripes and symbols, and it was a great success. Our team realised that the experience of getting nails painted, which was new for a number of people, and the ability to share the experience with others, was valuable for our customers. As well as that, I was able to share my passion with the customers.
A happy customer gets their nails painted!
2. We learned that we need to get our customers involved as much as possible, because you guys will be the ones enjoying our products and services. Initially, we planned to use the money from nail painting to buy ingredients for soup that we would sell on our University campus. We thought that students would want nothing more than cheap, delicious and warm soup of a cold winter’s day.
However, this assumption was disregarded pretty quickly when Elle, one of the team members at Sockos, received dozens of compliments on her lasagne lunch at Uni! We knew we had found a key to success. Although we never tried soup, we know that we wouldn’t have had nearly the same success as we did through our delicious lasagne sales.
One of the 8 trays of delicious lasagne!
3. Finally, we learned the true value of effective communication with our team members and customers. When a team is under pressure, it can be hard to remember to allow time to debrief and just chat. The time pressure feels too much and each person feels disconnected from the team and the project, as if they are doing it on their own. We learned the importance of keeping up our dialogues and meetings during times of high pressure, as this is when we need to communicate most about our successes, and whether or not we need support.
In a similar way, we want to keep up the dialogue with you guys too! There’s a lot going on at Sockos at the moment, and we want to keep you all in the loop. This is as much your journey as it is ours.
All in all, we made a $255.65 profit, half of which will be invested into Sockos start up costs, and half of which will be donated to the Lighthouse Foundation. The $5 wasn’t just an investment into the challenge, but an investment into the quality of our enterprise. With these lessons, and the long list of things we have learnt throughout our journey, we will ensure that our enterprise is honest, open and effective. We want you to be just as much a part of our journey, and help pave the way to apeaceful and sustainable world.
Thoughts from Francesca.
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