7 Mistakes Every Creative Should Avoid28.5.15
Not Having a Plan Turning a creative hobby shop into a business requires direction and drive; a business plan outlines long and short te...
Not Having a Plan
Turning a creative hobby shop into a business requires direction and drive; a business plan outlines long and short term goals, target audiences, marketing plans, and financial forecasts. This provides a clear outlook on the steps you need to take in order to grow a business. A business plan isn’t set in stone though and should be regularly revisited as milestones are reached and goals change. Even if you start out with a few short term goals and one major goal, that’s better than having absolutely no plan whatsoever - you’ll become a dreaming drifter instead of a driven developer.
Not Having a Self-Hosted Website
A lot of designer-makers head straight for marketplaces to set up shop but it’s imperative that you have your own domain with an on-site e-commerce shop. While marketplaces already have a huge pool of customers and a thriving community, customers can also search for similar products and potentially find "better deals” elsewhere. By setting up your own self-hosted site you can create a shop that reflects your brand exactly how you want and will cover you back should anything happen to your marketplace storefront.
Not Pricing for Profit
You need to find the price that reflects the true cost and value of the products you are creating. A lot of handmade businesses do not price for profit and instead, let other shops dictate their prices in a bid to compete for customers. Pricing for profit can be tricky and it raises all sorts of uncomfortable questions but if creatives underprice their work, not only are they short changing themselves but they are causing an impact on other creative businesses.
Not Having a Marketing Strategy
Any business without a marketing plan will struggle; people need to know about you and your business - use every tool available to your advantage and understand how you’re going to create brand awareness. Pick and choose your social media platforms wisely and know where to invest your efforts for maximum effectiveness. One of the biggest mistakes is not having a mailing list; collect email addresses by offering customers an incentive to sign up. Send regular mail outs to promote new products, sales, and exclusive content.
Not Identifying Ideal Customers
It’s unlikely a product is going to appeal to everyone. It’s important to know exactly who your products are for and why they would want to buy them. Using blanket marketing methods to promote your products means you’ll lose the attention of the majority of your audience. Being specific in targeting the people that really matter means your marketing efforts will be more successful and so will your business. Focus on the specifics: Who is your target customer? How old are they? What is their job? What kind of lifestyle do they lead? What are their interests? What activities do they do? What products do they use? What problems do they have and how can you solve them? How can your product inspire them?
Relying on Sales to Sell
It’s tempting to slash prices and offer regular sales in order to induce more customer purchases but in the long run they can damage your business. Pricing discounts encourage customers to visit you shop, browse, and make a purchase.. but these customers aren’t necessarily the kind of customer that is likely to stick around. If you regularly offer sales and discounts, it becomes the norm and customers are likely not to become loyal without them. Your products will lose their perceived value and it will become harder to convince customers to pay full price, which has a knock on effect with your profit margins. It’s best to stick it out, suffer slower sales, and keep marketing your business. If you have a good product that people want and you market it well, the right people will see it and start buying - hang in there and don’t be tempted to cut prices.
Not Being Patient
Unless you have a lot of money to sink into marketing, chances are you’re going to grow relatively slowly and there’s nothing wrong with that - so long as you’ve got a little patience. Don’t be tempted to rely on sales or buy followers; create a solid marketing plan, focus on creating high quality and curating a brand, and know that good things take time to grow. Keep your head down, don’t quit your day job, and focus on your goals. It can be frustrating at times to feel like your efforts aren’t getting you anywhere, but remember whatever you do today sows the seeds for tomorrow and eventually you’ll see the results.