With a brand new bakery, 18 eager Ambassadors and still constant interviews with press, my business was growing, and with it my brand. Take a few minutes to read the first few parts of The Journey blogs, then settle down to read what happened next.
After juggling my first round of recruitment and helping them all start their journey, I realised that I would need a bigger team. For years it had been just me, then Bart joined in and we were a great team, but how could the two of us manage a team of Ambassadors and grow the brand as well? It simply wasn’t possible and after a few months of trying to balance it ourselves, we decided to enlist some help. I approached one of my bestest friends who I just knew would be perfect for the team, for my Ambassadors and indeed the growth of the business. A pact was made that our friendship comes first and a contract was signed. The three of us make a very hard working and committed team; I now didn’t have to face any struggles alone.
Something I struggled with since day one was the brand. It was made very clear to me that I was to become the face of this brand, but this was incredibly hard for me as I got caught up in every little thing that was involved in growing the business. Wrong orders going out, cakes being made slightly wrong, Ambassadors needing lots of advice and I lost sight of the brand. I will be honest for a while this year I completely lost the love for the business as my focus was being dragged further and further away from what I loved and into a spiralling whirlwind of negativity.
I could write for days on every little thing that pulled me away from where I should have been, but that wouldn’t make for the most fun reading, and don’t get me wrong, I needed to be involved in these things. It was my business and these things needed sorting but this really allowed for no time for me to do what I always wanted to do; create. Create a brand, create products and create a business of which I am proud to sit at the front of with “By Alana” for all to see.
Something frequently suggested to me was to establish business social media platforms to be managed and run externally, focusing on the Ambassadors and their events. Of course I wanted to show off my business and my team of Ambassadors, but something in the back of my mind kept saying that it didn’t feel right. Over time, the feel for the business changed and became very much “Ridiculously Rich” but felt so disconnected from the “by Alana”, not in a conceited “all about me way!” but in a way I could be proud of, that was still connected to my roots and reasons for creating this business in the first place. Ridiculously Rich has become a great brand, but now that we have almost 50 Ambassadors, all creating their own exciting businesses, I feel it’s ready to come back to Ridiculously Rich by Alana, and re-show people why they hoped I would win and show them how much I care about this business.
The whole reason behind this string of blogs is by no means to ask for sympathy vote. I have had the most amazing year, and every day I count myself so lucky that the public and Lord Sugar could see how much passion I had for my business, leading me to win the show. But what I am so desperate for people to understand is that despite this, I struggled. I am not a natural academic or even 100% business minded. I am driven and passionate but as everyone does, I too needed a little help sometimes. No one gives you a manual on how to scale up your business. No one prepares you for the things that will, inevitably go wrong. And even with all the advice in the world, no one can make you feel proud of your business, expect you. As hard as this year has been, it has given me a chance to grow as a person and business woman, and re-connect with exactly why I started my business when I was 17. I couldn’t be more excited for what is to come.
I am determined to draw a line under the negativity I felt from last year. I may touch on certain parts of this in more detail in future blogs, if only to help others who may be feeling exactly the same way. But for now, I am so excited to be able to share with you all of the amazing and exciting things we have coming up soon. Over the next few days I am going to share with you all the changes and updates coming to Ridiculously Rich by Alana.
Your support, as always, means the world!