Saturday, April 07, 2012

The Business Chat - 20 ways to screw up


1.       Not having a business plan. Fail to plan and you plan to fail.

a.       Without a roadmap how do you think you’ll get to where you want to go?

2.       Not understanding your break even point

a.       What does it cost you to make your product? What is your profit margin?

3.       Underestimating costs

a.       You need to know your costs. Not just to make your product but to run your business. Craft show booths aren’t free. Neither is packaging nor postcards.

4.       Overestimating revenue

5.       Using crappy out-of-focus product photos

6.       Not developing standard greetings and signature lines

7.       Bad packaging.

8.       Bad customer service.

a.       Be nice or they’ll shop somewhere else. Really. There are lots of other artists.

9.       Not networking with customers and colleagues

10.   Neglecting market research that would help you better understand customer needs

11.   Trying to do things on the cheap, e.g. bad websites or photographs

12.   Not being able to articulate your USP (Unique Selling Position)

a.       Why would someone buy your work? What makes you so special?

13.   Not joining peer groups, - networking groups, (e.g. etsy teams)

14.   Not learning new technologies

15.   Thinking that all you have to do is make product.

a.       Product = sales. Wrong. Marketing product = sales. Right.

16.   Feeling that you have to know everything instead of asking/hiring help

17.   Not keeping proper financial records

18.   Charging too little for your time/products/services

19.   Fear of raising prices

20.   Not staying in touch with customers (newsletters, blog, email)

a.       It’s not the customers’ job to find you. It’s your job to find them.

This list is not meant to depress you. It is meant to inspire you to identify your weak spots, your potential trouble spots, and do something about them.
What are you doing wrong? Now fix it.

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