what we know for sure {part 2 of 2}

Today’s post focuses on growing a small business.  Below is a compilation of advice from a few of the Oh My! Handmade Goodness contributors.

  • Old school truth: Every business needs a USP (unique selling proposition). What’s yours? (Nicole Morell)
  • Deliver within your stated production time and offer excellent customer service! In this fast past world, it seems CS has taken a back seat.  Be an expert at customer service and your customers will come back.  (Stacy Amoo-Mensah)
  • Find out what your customers want by asking for feedback and ideas.  You’ll be surprised at how many are interested in contributing (especially if you offer a nice incentive or coupon for their help). (Stacy Amoo-Mensah)
  • Continue to tweak your products until you find what sells best. (Sara Tams)
  • It’s a lot easier to get repeat business from your current customers than to bring in new customers. (Sara Tams)
  • Review your web stats regularly. What pages/products are being viewed? What’s most popular? When are people shopping your site? Where there are spikes in traffic, what was the reason? (Nicole Morell)
  • Refine your process constantly! If I ever catch myself answering the same question twice, I draft a form letter and in the future I can send that out to anyone who asks. There are probably little elements of your daily work that you do over and over that could easily be streamlined, saving you hours of time and allowing you to complete more work (and make more money). (Arianne Foulks)
  • It’s easy to compare yourself to others when measuring your success. Measure your success on how YOU are doing. Set realistic goals for yourself and use those to gauge your progress. (Stacy Amoo-Mensah)
  • Don’t be afraid to raise your pricing (within reason) as your business becomes popular! As demand goes up for your product or service, you will find yourself working more and more. Wouldn’t you rather raise your price and lose a few customers? If you sell less items for a higher price, you will still be earning the same amount (or more), but maybe you won’t be running yourself ragged anymore. (Arianne Foulks)
  • Get involved with and comfortable using social media to spread the word about your business (facebook and twitter are my personal favs). (Stacy Amoo-Mensah)
  • You need a supportive and understanding spouse. There will be times that you say, “honey, I know all you can cook is mac + cheese, so can you whip some up tonight because I’m not leaving my workshop for the next 5 hours”. (Stacy Altiery)
  • It is easy to want to work 24 hours each day, because people are actually paying you for something you made with your hands. This is the ultimate form of flattery, right? The feeling is like a drug and can take over your life, especially if your craft is your passion. It is so important to place some work boundaries in place so you can handle your life outside of your business.  This could mean not working on the weekends, after 8pm, during the hours of 1-3, you name it. (Stacy Altiery)
  • If you are also a mommy, full time employee outside of your house, and a wife, you will NEVER feel like your life is balanced. In fact, you will embrace the “act of balancing” as your new normal. (Stacy Altiery)
  • Every now and then, stop and take some time to adjust. What have you enjoyed doing recently? What has been successful for your business? What do you hate doing; what are you tired of? Rather than get stuck doing the same thing over and over, see what you can do to improve your business. Jettison the tasks that aren’t profitable or enjoyable. Figure out how to do more of what you love. (Arianne Foulks)
  • If things start going well for your business, consider expanding. Are you in a position to hire someone to take over the business/accounting-related tasks so you can work more on the creative side, for instance? Is there more demand than supply for your products, and would it be cost-effective to train employees to create more product for you? There are a lot of people out there without jobs right now, and you may be surprised at how many takers you will find if you post a job offer! (Arianne Foulks)
  • Sleep is overrated! I am so excited to wake up, fill orders and communicate with customers that I don’t even want to go to sleep. (Stacy Altiery)

2 comments

  1. Cheryl says:

    Ohhh I couldn’t agree more with these ladies. I started my shop a year ago (thanks to Aeolidia of course) and it has been crazy. Chaotic at times and a definite learning experience adjusting to working for myself instead of someone else.

    Love this blog and can’t wait to read more good stuff like this 🙂

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