Join Jessica Alba, a Beautiful Business Brain

Some people have it all, don’t they? Beauty. Brains. Success. And all three are what Hollywood actress Jessica Alba has in abundance. But don’t let this become another example for you to cite when you feel sorry for yourself and your momentarily-failed-business-goals, with the usual defeatist yelp, “Some people are just lucky”.

Quit whining, and be inspired by these success stories rather than tired of these success stories.

Ok, so maybe we can’t do too much about the ‘beauty’ part (he says whilst taking cover), but using your brains to build a successful business? THAT you can!

Jessica’s Journey

After taking the lead in James Cameron’s sci-fi series, Dark Angel, Alba went on to become a household name with roles in Fantastic Four (2005) as Susan Storm, and as Nancy Callahan in Sin City (2005). Often voted ‘Sexiest Woman Alive’, Alba journeyed on to parenthood and now, as a result (I’ll get to that), co-owns a successful business–The Honest Company.

It all began in 2008, when Alba was pregnant with her first child. At a baby shower thrown by friends and family, Alba recalls her mother advising her to use mainstream detergents to prewash piles of baby clothes that were given as gifts. After doing so, she immediately suffered a reaction, causing uncomfortable hives. As someone who regularly suffered childhood allergies, Alba became worried of her own child reliving her experiences–and that was the inspiration behind The Honest Company.

She spent countless days and nights researching the contents of all her household detergents. “How can this be safe for babies, if I’m having this type of reaction?” she questioned. Her research led to some terrifying truths; extremely harmful substances such as petrochemicals, formaldehydes and flame retardants were prevalent in everyday household products. Some of them were listed on the ingredients clearly, whilst others were disguised under the general umbrella of ‘fragrance’–which is entirely legal!

After many a countless night researching, negotiating, meeting entrepreneurs and designing business plans, The Honest Company was born–a leading line of nontoxic household and baby products.

The company experienced extraordinary levels of growth, hitting $10 million revenue in its first year in 2012, and a predicted $250 million in 2015. With ownership of about 15-20% of the company, Alba is sitting on an estimated fortune of $200 million – its current valuation is at a staggering $1 billion.

Well maybe you’re not destined to be a big movie star or appear on the cover of glossy magazines, but there’s nothing stopping you from dreaming big and aiming to reach figures similar to those of The Honest Company.

Keep these points in mind and watch your business grow. Honest!

You Can’t Do Everything

Because your business is your baby, you might well be one of those owners with a growth-blocking ego that likes to take command of everything. But step back and be brutally honest with yourself. You’ll need to understand your strengths and weaknesses. You may want to handle everything and possibly feel you can, but make shrewd decisions and hire those people who are experts in the required fields in order to get things done faster and, quite simply, better!

Alba crossed the same bridge, as she explains:

“I’m not a business person. I’m a mom. I wasn’t going to be coding or in the lab mixing potions. If I went in there and said, ‘Hey, I’m going to put this business together from scratch all by myself’, I’m sure it would have been a lot more difficult for VC’s to take me seriously. Having the right partners also means people you like. That’s really important.”

Build a brilliant team around you, but be sure to get the right personalities too.

Test Your Product

If you can network (now that’s a topic that deserves its own article), then you’ll gradually build a contact book with a few ‘gems’. Pester those gems. Pester those gems like you’ve never pestered a gem before. (By this point I hope we understand that a ‘gem’ in this case is an outstanding individual you discovered during those networking events!) If you feel they’ll make a great addition to your business, ring them, email them and begin building a Marvel-esque super team.

What’s with the ‘Test Your Product’ sub-heading then?! Well, once you have a good network of people around you, you can ‘test’ your service and pitch before the decisive, ‘ultimate pitch’ in front of investors. Consider it the alpha test. Alba’s ‘alpha testing’ was done with some successful business-friends, all of whom were not going to invest; independent eyes and ears if you will. She explains that these friends, all of whom ‘knew their stuff’, asked great questions in order to prepare The Honest Company for its actual pitch: “They asked us great questions like, ‘What are you going to do when you run out of product? How are you going to get people to your website?’”  

Whittle Down

And then once you’re ready, trim it down to a concise, explanatory and effective business pitch. Alba felt that the back-and-forth practice-runs with the above business-friends helped The Honest Company to refine their pitch. “We eventually got it down to a 10-minute pitch deck and a 15-minute Q and A session; enough for a 30-minute meeting.”

Be informative, engaging and precise.

The Upsell

The Honest Company’s biggest seller is diapers (or nappies if you’re on this side of the pond.) They ship more than 10,000 orders daily. In order to promote its cleaning and personal care products, they offer free trials, excluding a $6 shipping charge. Does it work? You bet your Susan Storm figurine it works. Half of The Honest Company’s trial-users end up buying more products. About 75% of revenues come from online commerce, with the majority of that stemming from the $79.95 monthly bundles of diapers and wipes.

What’s your upsell? If you have a similar ‘offer’ of services but fail to see results, change your technique. See what works, then persevere.

Work Hard …

And then some. The expression ‘hard work pays dividends’ cannot be a truer motif for a successful business. If you want your company to reach the heights you’ve imagined, then you’ve got to graft for your craft. If it’s inspiration you need, let the still-so-young-yet-successful 34-year-old, Alba, be it.

She once worked an 86-hour week on the sets of Dark Angel–ultimately the series that launched her into superstardom. Now, she happily spends those 86-hours at an office desk, overlooking the marketing and brand development of the company.

Your business needs YOU. Schedule other commitments wisely and prioritise your time to your business. For 2015’s movie adaptation of hit TV series Entourage, Alba shot her scenes in three hours! What’s stopping you shooting your scenes in three hours? Probably the actual scenes … but the point is, if you have any other commitment, tend to it efficiently and get back to business.

Model yourself on these success stories and you’ll find yourself treading a lucrative path. If Jessica Alba, with all her commitments and projects, can do it … so can you.

Become a business superstar.

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