My name is Karen Turanga and I am a registered Dental Hygienist. I worked in the army for 20 years on and off and I now work in a clinic, “in the real world”, so to speak. Basically, my treatment is prevention. I discovered a need from listening to my patients who claimed that they could not find the best products to maintain their dental care between visits.
So, I created my online store, Widesmile, to supply them specialty products that aren’t generally available from local supermarkets. For example, we sell special mouthwashes, electric toothbrushes, and other items similar to those you may be able to get at a pharmacy.
What does your business offer?
As with most small businesses, I started off with a small selection of items but have since grown to include many different products and treatments. It’s beyond just a toothbrush, it’s actual medication. For example, I have treatments for people that suffer from dry mouth, canker sores, and other sorts of things which can be really uncomfortable.
We sell all across New Zealand . I actively work as a hygienist during the day and I do the product side of things at night.
It’s really all about looking after people and making their lives more comfortable. If you say to people, “My job is a hygienist”, the first thing that they do is shut their mouth and put their hands over their face. But, if you say, “My job is to give people confidence to smile again”, that changes the whole concept of what you really do.
What are some of the day to day challenges you face?
The challenge I face is getting inventory in and finding the appropriate tools to help customers accomplish what they want to do. This is kind of how I found inFlow Inventory. I had trouble keeping track of what I had, where it was coming from, and what processes I was paying for. I had to go on Google and hunt down a solution that was available. At that time, inFlow was the only product that I found which I could download and use straight away. As a bonus, it was independent of an accounting system which was important to me. I’d already used an accounting system and every other inventory software option seemed to be attached to another accounting system, which I didn’t like.
What is your advice for small businesses?
Well, when you feel like you want to pull your hair out and wonder how you’re going to fit everything into a day, go away, take a break, come back, and then just carry on. Stick to what you believe in, get up each day and just carry on.
I tend to “Google” a lot of things I don’t know and also have a Facebook page to get information out there. I also look at Facebook business groups which are quite helpful.
Also, we have informal local business meetings where different small businesses get together and have a glass of wine, a few crackers, and do a little networking. Sometimes you just go for the wine and crackers :).
It’s a good way to meet other people, get ideas from them, and share some of your ideas, trials and tribulations. It’s amazing how you can kind of help each other out, actually. Everyone’s small business is like their little baby and it helps to surround yourself with people who have common goals, all trying to help each other.