Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Beginnings of a Small Business

The Beginnings of a Small Business: Mistakes I Shouldn’t Have Made

1st Mistake: Not keeping good records.

When I started my business, I had two thoughts: 1) It would take off, and I’d be able to do something I love and make a lot of money doing it, 2) I would sell a total of maybe 3 or 4 items ever, and they would be orders from my mom.

Thankfully, I’ve reached a happy medium. I did not see the need to keep records starting from my first sale. After all, who knew if I’d ever have another sale at all? After gaining business here and there for about a year, I “officially” launched my business in the Fall of 2007 after my college graduation. I started keeping immaculate records. My records include:

· Sales Info (item sold, cost of item, customer contact information)

· ALL Receipts for supplies

· Statistical Information (# of items sold in a particular month, $ spent on supplies in a particular month, etc.)

· Etsy Information

o # of Hearts per month

o # of Views per month

o # of Etsy sales

o # of Trades, if any

o Amount of Etsy fees per month

o # of Items in shop

· Tax Information (tax collected on sales)

2nd Mistake: Not charging enough for products.

Since I started out selling only to friends and family, as I believe most crafters do, I practically gave things away! Now, I realize the importance of actually making money to cover costs of the supplies, my time invested, and the skills I have to create the items. This is still difficult for me, but I’m learning!

3rd Mistake: Not marketing my business.

Just recently, I have begun to see the effects of advertising my business. Since I do not have much money to invest in advertising yet, I have located several free ad sites, created a free website through GooglePages, set up a blog on Blogspot, and even posted a few pictures of my items on Flickr. Little by little, I’ve been impressed to see the traffic all of these have brought to my shop! There are many craft magazines available in which to advertise if you have extra dollars to spend, and I hope to take advantage of that in the future.

4th Mistake: Not developing new products.

Yes, it’s true that people return to a business to find things they may have purchased before, but customers also want to see something fresh and new. In introducing new variations on old products, and altogether new items, I have seen my sales jump quite a bit. It is my goal to introduce at least one new product every three months.

Hopefully, this will help you to avoid these mistakes as you set out on your own small business adventure!


twiddlestix said...

Hmmm. I don't keep much for records either- maybe I should start that up. Great reading- love your first 2 thoughts...I had the same! Thanks for sharing your mistakes, and hopefully we can all learn from it. ;)

Sew Gracious said...

Congrats on being so organized! :-)

I love your business cards too! Did you design those yourself?

Tori said...

I actually ordered them from VistaPrint, and just uploaded my fp logo. So fun!

esque said...

Thanks for sharing these! I'm usually very good with keeping records in my regular life, but I did not realize that I should to the same for etsy!


Carrie said...

Thanks for your insight!
It is easier to learn from making mistaking versus perfection.