Hey all, it’s Robyn here!
I thought id take some time to share my 5 tips for small business dreamers here on our blog. Our Zana story isn’t perfect yet, and we still have a TON of growing to do, but we’ve gotten this far! Here are some things for you to think about if you are considering stating your own business.
By this I don’t mean what you want to start/sell because I’m sure you already know that (or are working on it). I mean, do you want a handmade one man show, this might sound to some like a dream to some, just make enough money to support yourself, not have to manage anyone, work from home. To others this might sound like crazy talk. The second option is wanting to grow to be a team and have stores and have employees and grow to what more than one person can handle? Both have their pro’s and I’ve seen both scenario work amazingly for small business, but its all up to you.
Okay, you don’t have to have it all planned out just yet but I do think that it’s useful to think about before starting. Most small business normally start as a one person show anyway and then grows from there with permanent employees or outsourcing freelancers to help.
When you start a small business, its all on you. You have to follow up, take financial risk, make the phone calls, order the stock and deal with things like suppliers running out of your main raw material right after you receive a large order. Unlike when you are employed and if the business has a slump or something major goes wrong, its not really on you. You do your assigned role and cool. With a small business you are accounts, designer, social media manager, support, maker, phoner and all round do-er.
This is why I recommend really thinking before you make the jump, are you a “do-er” – can you do it all? – Okay that sounded really dramatic, but it is a lot of work, can be uncomfortable and you do need drive.
Make what you love & you will soon learn what people want to buy. Say for instance your favourite thing and what you are most proud of is a red cup but everyone loves and wants to buy the blue bowl. You love the blue bowl too but you prefer the red cup, just because.
Follow what the customer wants, they are your people & sneak a few red cups in along the way for your own joy! Find a balance, you want to be happy and make money at the end of the day!
Unfortunately we can’t all have TV adverts right away. I’m sure you have heard this all before but social media is the best way to promote your small business, do it well. Only take on the ones you can manage, like don’t make a twitter profile if you don’t like to tweet. All you need is a twitter profile for your business that was last updated 7 months ago.
Pin everything you do & make, Pinterest has been great for our business. Run sharing giveaways & engage with your customers. Although giving away something for free can seem strange (and take money out of your bank) it will help with exposure and you stand that chance to make the money back in two fold!
Although we like to give off the impression that we are on par with big online retailers (by replying to emails quickly, offering wholesale, keeping our website looking snazzy etc,) always remember that people love something unique and something that isn’t mass produced.
They like that they are getting it from you and not from a big department store. It gives it a good story and they can relate to you, creative ladies doing it for themselves, ya know?
Hope this helps or inspires someone out there! Thanks a lot for reading, good luck and remember that great risk can lead to great reward!