Be A Small Business Success – Part 2

 

By Gabrielle Taylor – The Brand Curator 

Be A Small Business Success – Part 2

How to follow through with the tips from part 1

BE ORGANISED

Now this could be easy or hard depending on your personality, but some organisation is essential for a successful business. So, my advice is to find a method that works for you and embrace it, whether it’s folders, spreadsheets, apps or other be consistent with your record keeping and your routine.

When wondering where to start you can’t go wrong with a business plan, you’ll find many examples online with similar headers from your elevator pitch to your SWOT analysis. Don’t be intimidated! They are a great tool to get you always thinking and refining your business. I like to archive old copies so that you can see how your goals and perception of your business changes over time.

Make a weekly or monthly schedule to try set aside specific time to work so you can quantify hours spent in your product price – also having business hours gives customer a time to reach out to you and gives you permission not to reply until the working day begins. They show up when you say, and you can prepare for them better that way. A routine really helps with a healthy life balance but until you have it worked out don’t feel silly scheduling in breaks, thinking time or family activities as these things often get forgotten. Putting in the extra effort during product launches or the busy Christmas period is different from always working and your business not being viable to make a profit or be worked on by anyone other than yourself.

A designated workspace is a tip most recommended to me by makers in helping with all of this. You feel more professional having a set space and can more easily step into the right frame of mind to work.

Now I am not saying be perfect but plan-ahead by setting up as you mean to grow. Have goals for yourself – especially on market/event/launch days – financial or non- financial – brand awareness or customer feedback on a new idea, gather customer data etc. Have handouts, clear pricing to make it easier to buy and plenty of stock to encourage a good customer experience. Whether that’s triple testing your card reader or making special deals, bundles or event prices prepare your own brand offering and then repeat.

As you grow you will also have more opportunities to automate to save you time and headaches. From Content Management Systems and AI copy generators to mailing list onboarding and up-sell apps there is a host of technology that comes in handy with either a little time and know how or some well spent pounds on an expert.

ESSENTIAL TIP

Right from the start separate out your personal and business finances – even if it’s just metaphorically to start with i.e I have £500 for my business and that’s all I can spend, then tally your sales and work out what you made and what you have left then restart your total for the next month.

BE FLEXIBLE
We have talked people, products and planning now… let’s talk mind set. After working so hard to establish yourself and working out your set up sometimes a spanner will be thrown in the works. Being able to pivot is a really useful business mindset and an asset that small businesses are more likely to possess but not harness. Being flexible after all that talk of planning might seem a bit cruel but be ready to tweak your plans it if needed. It’s hard when it’s something you make, or just your own business to be critical but a little self-reflection especially if you use data collected to back it up is a huge asset.

Look at your competitors and your industry to source trends and changes coming your way. Sometimes you can plan ahead other times you might have to react. You will very smug if you see something coming but only can be truly proud if you act accordingly. Try a new platforms or event maybe explore a new medium before others makes you a trail blazer and being the first to the party always has merit.

small business success - with Urban Makers

The last few years has seen huge changes in both the national and global environment, which affects so much from manufacturing to rent. In an uncertain market being accepting of changes can be the difference between surviving or not. Letting some part of your business go, old products or tools perhaps that no longer give you the return you need doesn’t have to be all bad news. It could just be time for a new phase and trimming back or trying something new can be exciting.  Businesses tend to need to evolve at key mile stones 1, 3, 5 years; remember your business birthdays and look pack at my other key areas to consider your options.

MARKET TIP

Try a modular display that you can put together in different ways, so you maintain your branding/style but can vary the stock and layout if you do regular markets.

BE CREATIVE
Finally, to the fun bit, being creative! – as a small business there are some things you might feel are out of reach but whatever the budget there are ways to shine.

If you are in charge, you can set the tone whether it’s the chatty way you word your newsletter or the recycled wrap you use to send your parcels. Focus on those USP’s and lean into them, celebrate being small, local, diverse etc. do local little markets or a cultural celebration you believe in.

Don’t forget to market yourself– tell everyone. Use social media savvily, tag the market, the location, the other traders. If you and another trader are doing the same event share the marketing workload and your skill sets. Trading services is a great way to save money in the creative community embrace the historic barter system. Also, you can be so much more ingenious that a large business stuck in a routine, if you have a cool idea or want to react to an event in real time you can. Try an old school poster or host an exhibition in an unusual space go for it. Unless it’s got a huge price tag you can pay what have you got to loose?

Some interesting out of the box marketing that caught my attention; rewards programmes are great, try a ‘customer of the month’ award program and give away something quirky.

Or try a behind the scenes video of an event people wouldn’t normally get access too, maybe even a buying errand – we all like a secret. The goal is to make yourself memorable – instagrammable you could say. Take up space by having your own presence in person or online that is all yours. There will be lots of advice and best practice to consider but the limit here is your imagination.

Art TIP

Keep your quirks. If you have a handwritten element, tidy it and digitise it but keep it. The strangest things are the most interesting.

Have I got your business brain buzzing? Did lots of this sounds familiar or are you scribbling down new ideas. I’d love to hear your small business challenges and of course any tips that really helped you. Join the conversation today over at @urbanmakers_uk and tag me @the_brand_curator

Gaby is the freelance brand consultant for innovative independent brands, specialising in organic and honest brand development. After exploring a variety of creative roles, she created Design Curator to specialise in telling amazing brand stories. Using fresh design, quality photography, strong copy and clever ideas. thebrandcurator.co.uk

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