Josh Weiss is the Founder and President of Bluegala, an online retailer of prom dresses, evening, party, and cocktail dresses. Previously, he worked for Lehman Brothers as a High Yield Credit Research Analyst. Josh graduated from the University of Virginia with a B.S. in Commerce with a concentration in Finance. Follow him @bluegala.
Who is your hero?
What’s the single best piece of business advice that helped shape who you are as an entrepreneur today, and why?
Match and exceed. Always keep a close watch on your competitors and make sure to match and exceed them in everything they do.
What’s the biggest mistake you ever made in your business, and what did you learn from it that others can learn from too?
When we first launched Bluegala, we placed a large order for lower-priced dresses before doing any research to see if we could actually compete in the market selling them. In hindsight, we should have placed a smaller order and tested the waters with a small PPC campaign. The lesson learned is to walk before you run and test everything.
Check orders from overnight and go through the previous day in Google Analytics. I do this to keep a handle on what’s selling and if there are any issues. Google Analytics helps me to constantly get a sense of where our traffic/sales are coming from and if there are any red flags causing consumers to bounce off the site.
What’s your best financial/cash-flow related tip for entrepreneurs just getting started?
Bootstrap your business for as long as you can and try to scale it from there. If you eventually need money, you want the business to be as profitable as possible to get the best valuation, and you want to hold onto the most equity you can.
Quick: What’s ONE thing you recommend ALL aspiring or current entrepreneurs do right now to take their biz to the next level?
Dive into your analytics. If you don’t know what to look for, there are tons of books and blogs that can point you in the right direction.
What’s your definition of success? How will you know when you’ve finally “succeeded” in your business?
I define success as being one of the dominant players (if not the most dominant) within a certain industry or niche. Success is accomplishing what others were unable to accomplish and thriving where others have failed.
I will know my business has succeeded when Bluegala is the go-to resource for social occasion gowns. We have had a lot of growth since our founding in 2009, but there is still a long way to go before we establish dominance in the sector. Each year that passes allows us to learn more and more about what it will take to establish dominance and I am confident we will get there eventually.
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.