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3 entrepreneurs reveal what they learned after setting up their businesses

Setting up your own firm is no walk in the park. It takes time, effort and strength to find the right formula to compliment your brand.

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Regardless of whether a business is successful, an entrepreneur is guaranteed to learn important lessons over the course of a project. That’s certainly been the case for three women who set up their own health and wellness companies in Britain.

Speaking at AllBright’s 2018 FoundHER event in London this month, the creators behind well-being brands Frame, Neom Organics and FaceGym, revealed what they found out as they built their brands.

From financing to learning on the job, CNBC Make It breaks down the essentials that these three entrepreneurs discovered — and how it could inspire you too.

Time and money

For the first 11 years of its existence, the founders of Neom Organics chose to avoid private equity, instead opting to fund everything themselves.

In so doing, the process of building up the natural beauty brand took a lot longer, one of the founders Nicola Elliott explained at the AllBright FoundHER festival.

“I was absolutely adamant that we would retain control of it — which in the end, ended up being a good thing for us, but it meant that we grew slowly. You can only put into the business what you’ve obviously made,” she said.

Four years after setting up the business, Elliott attended a trade show and met Nicky Kinnaird, the founder of beauty retailer Space NK, who told her that it would take about nine years for Neom Organics to become a household name — a statement that surprised Elliott at the time, but now completely understands.

“You can grow (a business) much, much quicker, and I do think you do need to be prepared to get cash to do that,” she said.

“So, I think just knowing that fact, and sitting down and thinking, ‘If you want it all yourself, that’s fine,’ — it will take a lot longer. And if you don’t, that’s also fine. But prioritize going for the cash earlier and it will grow faster.”

Dare to be naive

When Pip Black was 24, she joined forces with Joan Murphy to create Frame, a business that would focus on feel-good fitness classes.

Since opening their first studio in London’s Shoreditch in 2009, Black and Murphy now have some seven locations across the English capital, with each offering pay-as-you-go price structures and monthly memberships.

Yet when Black started off her partnership with Murphy, which came after they met on a surfing trip in 2007, she had only been in work for a year. But today, Black sees that as a positive, not a negative.

“I was completely naive and the fact that I didn’t know how hard it was going to be, actually kind of is why I did it,” she said. “I think if I’d known what I’d have had to give up, and all those sort of hurdles that I would have had to jump through, it might have been a bit harder to have made that jump.”

Speaking at a panel titled “Queen of the Regime: Master Your Routine,” Black explained that knowing she didn’t have “to have all the answers at the beginning” and that the business would be a work-in-progress was a boost to her confidence.

“You’re going to constantly learn along the way and every challenge that comes up, you will be able to get over it and have to surround yourself with wonderful people that can help and mentor you and get you through that,” she said.

“You aren’t going to be perfect at the beginning: we’re 10 years in, and we’re still learning every day,” she added. “By being naive and just going for it — it kind of was the best way to deal with it, I think.”

The work that goes on behind the scenes

Describing herself as a “serial entrepreneur,” Inge Theron has dabbled in a number of industries, from writing the column “Chronicles of a Spa Junkie” for the Financial Times media outlet, to creating a boardgame for consumers.

One of her latest ventures is FaceGym, which has claimed in the past to be the U.K.’s “only gym studio for the face”, and offers non-invasive facial workouts.

Looking back at her journey as an entrepreneur, Theron said she had “desperately underestimated how much administration backend would be involved” with setting up a business.

“You can have a great idea, you’ve got the vision, but everything is about execution — it all falls apart in the operations,” she said.

Theron added that if she could have spoken to her younger self, she would have definitely considered doing accounting and administration courses.

“I promise you, no good idea will ever make it without process and procedure.”

What better way to kick off an early start at our first day of #FoundHER than with a panel discussion on mastering your morning routine & getting the most out of each day. Joining our Co-Founder @DebbieWossk are the Founders from @MoveYourFRAME, @face_gym & @NeomOrganics. pic.twitter.com/TnGcGMAmbF

— AllBright (@weareAllBright) July 3, 2018

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