Please state your name, your position, and a bit of your Business.
Leah Hadder, Founder of SASH: Pageant Consulting. SASH: Pageant Consulting provides unique services to assist contestants in preparation for pageant competitions.
How did the business start?
For several years, I have received numerous text messages, emails, and questions related to coaching contestants across the South preparing them for their specified pageant competitions. It seemed that I was a sole “go to” individual for many who associated my face and name with the pageant industry.
It had been a dream of mine since I was a college freshman to eventually own my own business. I chose to combine my love of pageantry with the knowledge obtained from earning degrees in business and public administration to open a business. I wanted to create some type of business outreach that provides informative pageant coaching as well as multiple types of services that would sharpen the contestants’ competition skills.
What are the challenges you met and how did you manage to cope up with these challenges and reach your current status?
One major challenge for me was learning how to market my business and create an established presence in the pageant industry. There are so many pageant consultants and coaches today. I needed to market what my unique consultant skills were and promote specific characteristics about SASH: Pageant Consulting that make it a distinctive business. After doing the proper research, I was able to create effective marketing tactics using media channels to promote my business and network with potential clients.
An additional challenge was to learn how to maintain credible pageant knowledge within my consulting work. I network with different pageant systems, volunteer at pageant related events, watch nationally televised pageants as well as subscribe to pageant magazines to read articles about the latest pageant and fashion trends. It is important to stay knowledgeable and aware of what is currently happening in your business field.
Who influenced you in this industry and how did he/she influence you?
Surprisingly, many people who are not associated with the pageant industry influenced me the most. My college professors influenced me greatly by teaching me business skills that I necessarily would not have learned from a textbook.
Several close friends and family members who have owned businesses and worked in leadership positions at various companies have mentored me throughout the years.
How did you manage to market your business and compete with other agencies in your niche?
To learn how to market my business to establish a presence in the pageant industry, I studied how my target audiences communicated, and where they wished to obtain information about anything related to pageantry. That is what taught me what to market about my business, where to market my business and how to market SASH: Pageant Consulting.
I do not wish to say that I compete with other pageant consultants. I know the types of services that I can provide. I know how to market my services and am confident in my consulting techniques.
What Best Practice/s can you share to our startup readers?
There are three tips that I always love to share with aspiring entrepreneurs. The first is to be adaptable to change. Whether you are selling a product or service, pay close attention to market changes. Your business must be able to adapt.
Notice the traditional trends as well as the current trends for the season. By being adaptable, this will enable your business to seem more marketable and open more opportunities to expand.
Second, network with people who you believe are successful in your type of business field. Allow yourself to be coached by a mentor. Hire a helpful consultant. Having these types of conversations will allow you to learn the best practices for your business, expose you to a wide range of knowledgeable tactics and encourage you to set positive, attainable goals.
Lastly, to be successful in your business, whether you are selling a product or service, you need to believe in what you are promoting. Potential customers are able to recognize whether you are passionate about your business or if you are just “going through the motions” to earn a paycheck. If you enjoy what you are doing, want to help others succeed and have a desire to solve problems, you are setting yourself up for success.
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