The small business world is booming! Yes give all those go-getters a round of applause and those who are growing and expanding an even bigger one! But the hard thing about the creative world is, you start selling a product and then stumble around three…four…sometimes FIVE other shops who are selling the same type of product! First instinct is to of course “size them up” and the next is to have a mini panic attack that not everyone (including you) can be selling the same stuff… It’s happening more and more frequently. This isn’t even the first blog post about this (the irony).
However, there will always be 3 defining factors that will separate the fad from the truly booming small business. So don’t be discouraged and see where you fall in line (and if you need to make some changes):
1. Quality: This goes from your shop appearance to your customer’s entire experience with your shop. Etsy is wonderful, because you just need a banner to look “legit.” However, how are your product pictures? Do you just snap quick pictures or actually have a set up? Are they uniform and have a story to tell? Then is your product actually of quality? If I wear it twice and wash it will it shrink to children’s size? Or will the seams rip after short term use? And how do you treat your customer who wants a new product because theirs arrived broken? All of these things will separate you as a business owner time and time again… If you’re selling a quality product don’t worry so much about your cost and your slow sales initially – word will catch on! I worried about raising my shipping prices, but people don’t realize I will replace any broken item free of charge.
2. Purpose: All great things have a purpose. It’s a known fact and business ownership is no exception. Why do you sell your product? What does any of this mean to you? Are you selling simply to make money? Because you can craft and this is quick cash? Though money is not horrible (heck it’s great in the right perspective) it can’t be the driving force behind why your small business exists. Why you may ask… Because when you have a down season (they do/will come) you’ll most likely quit. My last two shops failed because I had no true purpose behind them. Not because I didn’t want them to succeed, but because I wanted to be great but didn’t BELIEVE in anything great for them. Evaluate…then create.
3. Time: Time has a funny way of coming around at the best and worst times. If you’re a gardener (I am not…but I watched my grandmother revive a dead plant like four times) then you know it takes time to grow something that can withstand different seasons. Some of the best bloggers, businesses, and even friendships have stood the test of time. If you’re just running a business to run one – you won’t wait for time. Simple as that.
So don’t be discouraged if you’re comparing yourself this time around small business. In fact go make new goals, study and read up on how to market yourself better, CREATE A BUDGET (because this stuff isn’t cheap!!), and make sure that each item you send is of quality, something you’re proud of, and an item you believe in.