We're delighted to welcome founder of Enterprise Nation www.enterprisenation.com and small business author, Emma Jones, who's shared her expert knowledge in five steps that will see you turning a crafting passion into well-earned profit.
1. Keep it niche – when coming up with the idea and concept for your craft business, keep it as niche as possible. What I mean by this is aim to offer a particular product to a well defined audience; maybe it’s gift-ware for toddlers or handmade scarves for ladies with a particular budget. Doing so will mean you understand your customers; you know where they are/ what they read/ who are their key influencers/ where they currently buy etc and this knowledge allows you to keep marketing costs low as you focus your promotion efforts, and it keeps customer loyalty high as customers can only get what they’re after from you.
2. Write a plan – with the idea in hand, it’s time to write a plan! I refer to a business plan as a route-map as it helps you get from where you are now, to where you want to be. It doesn’t have to be long and is easy to remember what to include as it spells I’M OFF. That stands for:
I – what’s you’re Idea
M – who is the Market you’re going to serve (as above, the more defined the market, thebetter!)
O – what Operations do you need to get started and keep growing ie kit/ stock/ workspace etc
F – is for Finances and comes in the form of doing a basic cashflow forecast (check out our 2013 StartUp Kit as it comes complete with a template) and secondly, this is the section where you highlight any need to raise funds – if you do, download our free eBook on ’50 ways to find funding for your business' http://www.enterprisenation.com/shop/50waystofindfundingforyourbusiness/ which offers links and tips on where to go, and how to raise.
F – the final F is for Friends; who will be your support network and experts on call. If you can, it’s also advisable to find a mentor and the best kind is someone who will hear you out as you talk through your business opportunities and questions. You have all the answers – sometimes you just need to talk them out!
3. Make a sale – start selling to friends and family before moving on to making sales to a wider circle! Make sales offline by attending Farmers Markets and Craft Fairs or consider a PopUp with PopUp Britain www.popupbritain.com.
There are also sales to be made online through uploading your products to powerful sales platforms such as Etsy, Folksy and Notonthehighstreet.com who attract customers on your behalf. Sell via your own website through investing in a template website such as Wix, Weebly or SupaDupa or simply add an e-commerce plug-in to your blog, to turn browsers into buyers.
4. Make some noise – become known by getting to know the journalists and bloggers who write for your identified audience. Follow them on twitter and send releases with stats, quotes and a stand-out headline (in the 2013 StartUp Kit, you’ll find a press release template.) Being a craft business, make the most of your beautiful products and attach high quality images to your release as it will be more likely to be covered.
5. Keep the business in balance – as sales are coming in and your profile is on the rise, keep yourself and the business in balance by trying to spend your time equally on three things; business development (attracting new customers), customer care (taking care of existing customers) and admin (ensuring you’re being paid on time, keeping finances in order etc) – you won’t enjoy all three tasks equally but working on them will ensure a successful business and your own personal satisfaction!
To pick up more tips and advice from Emma, join her at Manchester City Library on Saturday 1st June for a 'StartUp Saturday' class where you'll discover all you need to know to turn your creative talent into a business. Each attendee also receives a copy of the 2013 StartUp Kit.
Register to claim your £5 discount off the entry fee: http://startupsaturday-manchester.eventbrite.co.uk/?discount=MOC