Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Business Chat - August slow season

There's a slow and lazy feeling about the last half of August. Humidity is high, cicadas are buzzing and kids are dragging their feet knowing this is the end of their freedom. No matter how long we've been out of school we all feel the laziness now. Add to this the traditionally slow sales of August and we're all tempted to let the business slide for the moment.
Now is the time to really put some muscle into your business. Yes sales are slow at this time of year. No we don't feel like working. Suck it up and do the work (remember last weeks post?). When September rolls around and things pick up again you'll be busy working IN the business, take this slow time of year to work ON the business.

Here's 5 thing to work on during a business slow season:

  1. Vision time. Grab your notebook, your favourite pen, pencil or crayon and doodle and ponder. In an ideal world where do you want your business to be in 6 months? 12 months? What's your idea of a perfect work day? How much would you like to make? How can you make that money? What's the most awesome thing you'd like to happen in your business? Dream big and silly and write it down.
  2. Work on your marketing message. Marketing is communicating what you do to your customers. Before you can tell them, you have to know yourself. What do you do? Now is the time to work on your elevator speech. Think about new marketing materials, do you have postcards yet? A new business card? A logo? Redesign your blog or plan on starting one. Create a Facebook business page.
  3. If you haven't booked any Christmas craft shows now is the time to do so. Larger craft shows book 6 - 12 months in advance. If you haven't booked a show yet look for smaller shows. Why not decide to do a larger show next year and start researching them now?
  4. Improve your photography skills. If you are sellling online, or plan on selling online soon you'll already be aware that the most important thing you need is brilliant photography. Online shoppers can't touch your work so your photos are what sells an item. If you create one product that is reproduced 100's of times then you can afford to hire a professional to take amazing photos. Most of the time it si not financially viable to pay someone to shoot images so you will need to do them yourself. Photography is a skill, that means practise, practise, practise. There are great tips and tutorials online to help you (check the Etsy forums). Go for it.
  5. Build up your online community. A lot of creative people work at home, especially if you are doing this part time, and it's hard sometimes to remember that we're not alone. Your community is important not just for the moral support but for information. Your community will tell you how fabulous you and your work are, they'll let you know about craft shows, deal on supplies, important blogs to read and advertise on and which online venues are good for selling on. Your community can be the key to success. Take some time now to find your online community. Make friends on Facebook, read blogs (and leave comments!!!), when you find a blog you like check out who they read. Cruise around Etsy, Artfire and DaWanda. Where ever you visit online send emails to people who's work you like and make connections. The world is a big place.

Dreaming, scheming, reading and pondering are just as imporant to your success as making a fabulous necklace or knitting a gorgeous sweater. This is one of those times when spending a few hours cruising the internet isn't time wasting, it's research.


The BeadFX Buyer said...

There's also a great set of articles on improving your photography right here on the beadFX blog. Just check the archives, starting from August 2009

cypress sun said...

thanks - i needed a good kick in the pants today. :) the cicadas were getting really loud....

Diana said...

I'm starting to take pictures of my art and thought it would be a simple thing....20 bad shots later... I'll check the archives.

thanks for all your tips.

sonyamacdesigns said...

Thanks for the reminders ...