[Editor’s Note: Daysteps has been discontinued. Three of the four partners–Laura Thake, Cecilia George, and I–are now Lifestyle Inspirations LLC and are publishing MY LIFE MATTERS; Personal Planner for Women. Read their press release here]
A successful business often starts with a gem of an idea. But to succeed in the marketplace today, given the competition and the economic realities, it typically “takes a village” to implement and nurture that idea.
Kelly Wagner was looking for a dayplanner that can inspire her and give her confidence to pursue her goals and life’s daily activities. However, she was unable to find the right product in the market. Realizing that other women may be seeking the same tool as her, she decided to create her own dayplanning system that will address the needs of women looking for balance in their lives while trying to achieve personal growth and fulfillment. She had an idea of the kind of dayplanning system that will address her needs.
Instead of pursuing her idea alone, Kelly gathered three friends to help bring her idea into reality and translate it to a successful business. Bobette Kyle is an internet marketing expert; Laura Thake is a graphic designer, while Cecilia George was a long-time stay at home mom who have just returned to the work force as an office manager. With the women’s different talents and abilities she values, Kelly knew she has the right team working together. Thus, the Daysteps planning system was born.
WomenHomeBusiness.com talked with the women of Daysteps on how the idea came about and the challenges they are facing as they build the business. Learn from this dynamic group of women:
What is Daysteps? How is it different from other day planners in the market today?
In a broad sense, Daysteps is a lifestyle. It is the personal desire to become more accepting of life right now while achieving life balance, self-improvement, and personal fulfillment. It is the process of making these changes part of a daily routine and integrating them one day at a time, one step at a time.
Our first product–the Daysteps Personal Lifestyle Planner–helps women do this. This planner is different because it combines lifestyle, appointment-tracking, and goal-setting features. It encompasses many key aspects of life and is designed to motivate the user to become the person she wants to be; to feel calm and capable about carrying out daily activities and reaching intentions. Its unique features–monthly priorities; nutrition, water, sleep, and fitness trackers; ‘Clear Your Head’ pages; and ‘Fill Your Heart’ sections–help bring inspiration and balance into her life.
Who is the target market of this product?
Our ideal customers are women who both run a household and have significant other responsibilities (a home business, for example). She would like to achieve better life balance and move toward fulfilling her life dreams, as well as become more satisfied and accepting of where her life is right now.
Why should women use the Daysteps planner? How does this planner empower women?
Women should use the Daysteps planner because, unlike other planners, it addresses many aspects of life they are involved in (their feelings, personal goals, and household activities, for example). Yet, it is flexible enough that each woman can “make it her own” by using each section as she prefers.
It empowers women by giving them tangible ways to move toward their own goals on their own terms each day. We recognize that each woman has a unique set of values that should define her personal vision of success. We consciously put together the planner to take this into account. We avoid the typically stressful, “more is better” mentality to goal achievement and organization. Instead, this planner nurtures each woman’s value system to help move her toward peace, fulfillment, and balance.
How did Daysteps come about? Whose brainchild is this product?
The concept began when Kelly recognized an unmet need: a lack of tools to easily integrate positive life changes on a daily basis. Together, we all began the journey of discovering and bringing to fruition a company vision and product to do just that.
Daysteps is a collaboration of four women. How did the four of you come together for this business?
Kelly knew each of us from different parts of her life and recognized that our different strengths could contribute differently to this project. Cecilia is a mother of six who enjoys healthful eating and an active lifestyle. Kelly runs a nine-person household in addition to extensive volunteer work. Bobette has a business, marketing, and online publishing background. Laura is a graphic artist with 20 years of experience and numerous printing-industry contacts. Kelly approached each of us individually and Daysteps was born.
Aside from Daysteps.com, where else can people buy this new planner system?
The planner can also be purchased on Amazon.com.
What are the main challenges you face in creating Daysteps?
Creating a unique product, then getting the message across (As one of our reviewers, Jennifer Williams of MommysHangout.com, put it, “I really wasn’t thinking this planner would be ANY DIFFERENT then the other 100,000+ on the market. But boy was I WRONG!”) We literally began with blank paper and built this planner from the ground up. The iterations, rewrites, and testing took more than a year. We are now confident the planner meets the previously-unmet need of a way to conveniently integrate positive change on a daily basis.
How are you marketing Daysteps?
Our marketing plan includes a combination of strategies for reaching our ideal customers; both short- and long-term activities, plus different distribution channels. We are focusing on direct distribution channels (local shows and direct, face-to-face sales through our individual networks), online ordering (through our Website, Amazon.com, and other sellers), and sales through independent retail stores or professionals. Longer term, we are beginning the process of gaining distribution in retail chains, who have a longer decision-making time frame for planners.
Our marketing programs are primarily social media and public relations related. We issued a launch press release, are offering opportunities for reviews, sponsoring several giveaways, and can be found on Twitter and Facebook.
What are your plans for Daysteps in the next five years?
We’re planning to roll out new versions for different user types, if surveys and market research indicate a need. We also plan to continue publishing our Personal Lifestyle Planner (current offered in 2010 Full-Year, Jan-June 2010, and July-December 2010 editions).
What lessons can you share other entrepreneurs?
There will always be more to do than you can physically accomplish. That’s why prioritization is critical. Every second spent on one activity is a second *not* spent on another. If the latter activities are more profitable than the ones you are doing, that has a direct impact on the bottom line. To prioritize marketing and sales activities, ask yourself if that activity has a direct, positive impact on reaching or satisfying your ideal customer. If not, there are more profitable ways to spend your time.
A misconception held by many entrepreneurs is that successful businesses run smoothly. In reality, being in business comes with bumps and challenges along the way. Keep in mind that implementing a business and marketing plan is an ongoing process–implement, evaluate, adjust, implement, evaluate, adjust, etc.–and success does not require perfection.
Another lesson is to believe in you. Many times others will not “get” your vision, especially if it involves a completely unique product or new way of thinking. That’s OK. Continue to focus on your ideal customers, and understand how your company meets their needs, and you will be successful.