I finally made the pilgrimage to Waco Texas to visit the Magnolia Empire today. I have been dreaming of this moment for years. I’m a “fixer upper” home flipper and a farm girl that has raised my babies with chickens and goats. I relate to Joanna on so many levels such as faith, family, and farm. I couldn’t wait to experience the pure bliss of shopping at the Silos. My expectations were high this morning, and Jo Jo exceeded them all. As a University Business Professor and Entrepreneur, I am in awe of this female business mogul. Yes, they are a sweet farm family that flips homes, but they are also genius entrepreneurs that we could all learn from. Here are 7 business tips entrepreneurs can learn from Joanna Gaines.
- Customer Service – Upon arrival I was treated like royalty at every stop, and yes, I stopped at all the places. At every checkout, their associates initiated a conversation about where I was from, the weather or plans for the rest of the week. They were so kind. The other thing I was continually impressed with was that each checkout associate asked if I was in the military or a veteran. They give discounts to our amazing patriots. That says it all. As entrepreneurs we should connect with our customers and help fix their pain points. If the pain point is the need for a sweet lemon lavender cupcake, so be it. Take care of your tribe.
- Diversify – The Magnolia empire spans across several different industries. The Gaines family has many different revenue streams that includes real estate, TV shows, silo stores, Target line, restaurant, magazine, published books and much much more. They follow the standard farm rule “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket”. When one venture has lacking sales, the others can off-set that. Their businesses are also wonderful complements to each other. They use the cross-sell technique well. The Gaines family is not afraid to branch out, but they take extra care to make sure it’s a good fit for them.
- Branding – Joanna and her team understand marketing and branding. Although they are in multiple different business arenas, customers can pick out her colors, fonts and product pictures a mile away. Her brand is full of farm visuals, neutral colors, and wholesome family values. Jo has done an outstanding job of not getting stuck in the trendy farmhouse movement. She stays on top of new trends and isn’t afraid to add in some modern touches as well. She is continually changing up her product line and look. Everything she does fits perfectly into her brand, even the restrooms on the property. Entrepreneurs can take Joanna’s lead by using social media platforms as free advertising and brand building with their customers.
- Toughen Up – The Gaines family can take a hit, and they know how to turn off the negative noise. If you are going to be successful in business, especially online, be prepared for some haters. Any time you are doing something good, someone will be there to tear you down. Chip and Joanna have been publicly blasted for their faith, business growth and expanding empire in Waco and the televised media. They have handled it with grace. Rarely do they respond to the negative vibes. If they need to get ahead of a story, they will take the initiative to put out a statement or do an interview. Joanna continues to share grace, joy and kindness even when they are dealing with negative attention.
- Partner and Support – It’s important in business to have a solid support system. Chip and Joanna work together and support each other. They do have different roles in their business. You can find Chip with an axe on demo day, while Joanna is picking out tile for the bath. They complement each other and are not afraid to speak their opinion. It’s also clear they know how to joke around and have fun. Your partner does not need to be a spouse or even have a main role in the business. It could be a business bestie that you are comfortable brainstorming with. Entrepreneurship can be lonely at times. Make sure you seek out a solid support system. If you are large enough to have employees, hire the best and treat them well. The Gaines family is known for taking great care of their associate tribe.
- Create an Experience – Jo knows how to create an experience for her customers. Of course, I can go online and order a new planter and table runner, but instead today I traveled over a thousand miles to experience the phenomenon in person. Walking through the gardens, devouring a tasty cupcake and smelling the candles in Waco made for one of the best days ever. As a business owner, you should think through your operation and determine how can you serve your customer in an experiential way. My trip to Magnolia Market used all five of my senses, and now I’m planning on a girl’s trip back with my mother and daughter, so they can also experience it. Who knows, we may even stay in one of their nightly cottage rentals. How can you improve the buying experience for your clients?
- Family – Joanna’s love for her family and faith comes above all. She built her business by putting their needs first. When Chip and Joanna were just getting off the ground with the Fixer Upper show, they were pressured to travel away from home more. They decided not to budge and would only take on projects nearby. Joanna has taken time off to raise her babies and even shut down the original store to be a stay at home mom for a while. Joanna understands the concept of seasons in life. There are times to hustle and there are times to snuggle in bed with your littles. Make sure you build in time to nurture your favorite relationships.
There are many other lessons we can learn from the Texas icons, but if you nail these 7, you should see huge success in your business. I am thrilled that you stopped by here today.
Blessings to you and your business my friend!
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