Updated: Nov 15, 2019
Here are just a few tips and tricks that I have picked up along the way of my small business journey. When I started Manda Moon Crochet I had no idea what I was doing and had no guidance. While I am grateful for my journey and for everything this business has turned into, I know how hard it can be when you need some advice but can't seem to find any relating to you and your business. With that being said, I hope these tips are helpful for anyone looking to start a business or grow their current business!
The following tips work best if you execute them in order. Each previous step prepares you for the next.
The first step for a successful business is to plan. Not only is planning satisfying if you are weird like me and love lists and checking things off, but planning is also a way to ensure that everything runs smoothly and helps eliminate stress + complications. If you are just starting your business it's important to do your research. Think long and hard about what you want to sell, what kind of business you want to run, what kind of business would make you happy etc. From there begin setting up a rough draft / plan of things you need to get done and dates you want to get them accomplished by.
Another part of planning that is crucial for running a business is time management. It's great to have a plan but you also need to have motivation and drive to push through the daunting tasks that will get your business to where you want it to be. Once you have your plan, be sure to set some due dates so you don't procrastinate too long and end up losing that motivation and excitement. Check out the app Grow Tree which is perfect for managing your time and blocks you from using your phone and getting stuck on distracting social media sites. Plus, while the timer counts down, it grows a little tree on your screen while the timer counts down and it becomes fully grown if you don't touch your phone for the entire time you set your app for.
2. Know yourself
Another important factor that will help you grow your business is knowing yourself. This means knowing what you like, what you want to do for your business, how you want to be known as a business owner, what style you like, how you want to brand your business, etc. Taking the time to know yourself and how you want to run your business is key. This will make running a business so much easier because you won't constantly wonder how to put your shop together in a way that seems cohesive and pleasing to not only yourself but your customer base as well!
A few questions you can ask yourself to practice knowing yourself are:
1. What do I love to make / sell?
2. What characteristics do I want to have as a small business owner?
3. What kind of style / aesthetic do I want for my business?
4. What do I want to accomplish as a small business owner?
3. Know your audience
Knowing your audience is what makes or breaks your business, especially for online shop owners. Whether you are just starting out or you are trying to grow your current business, it's important to ensure you know your audience and you know who you want to attract as a customer base. This is important because if you are searching to find people who might be interested in your items, you need to know where to start looking.
To know your audience you must also know yourself and how you want to brand your business because this tells you where to search for customers. By knowing yourself and knowing your audience, you know which hashtags your potential customers could be using on their post. Many people think that you should grow your business 100% organically (meaning the people find you as they find you and you do not go out of your want to recruit future customers) but personally in my opinion I think there is nothing wrong with trying to promote yourself and make connections with new people to grow your business. Especially at this day in age when online platforms make it more and more difficult for small business owners and accounts to be found.
*let me know if you want a blog post on marketing + finding your customer base*
4. Connect and Communicate
Once you know your audience, connecting and communicating is the next huge tip I have for any online seller. Once again, online platforms make it difficult for small shops like us to be found so it is CRUCIAL that you work hard to connect and communicate with your audience/customer base/ following. Not only does this show the platforms that you are active and receive a lot of engagement which can boost your account BUT this is also a great habit to get into because making connections is how your leave a lasting impact and create a repeat customer base. Connections help you because if you are strictly an online business, you can't provide in person customer service. Therefore you must engage with your customers on social media and show them that you're a real human who wants to make relationships and friendships with people and are not just a materialist shop owner promoting strictly to make sales.
5. Slow and Steady
Sometimes we can get carried away with trying to grow too fast... and while this determination is amazing, this can cause you troubles over time. One reason this can happen is an obvious reason which is burnout. If you constantly work yourself to no end, it won't be long before you become burnt out which can put you back in progress or worse...lead you to wanting to give up. This can also cause your business trouble because you are taking on too much at one time. You can only focus on so much at once so if you try growing at an unrealistically rapid rate, you might not produce your best work which can result in people not being interested in your business or not taking it seriously. To avoid this from happening, remind yourself that slow and steady wins the race! Make sure if you are starting or revamping your business, take the time to do things at a good pace. This does not mean procrastinate forever but just try to plan things out so you are not over worked or taking on too much at once.
One thing I have learned is I work best when I take on one project at a time. I used to start four crochet projects, plan a new collection, run sales and giveaways, all at once while trying to work on orders AND finish my education. This left me frazzled, overwhelmed, and a giant ball of stress. Eventually after I started taking on less at once, I noticed how much I could get done. Not only could I get more done, I was able to do it in less time and produce better outcomes since I was no longer tackling 100 things at once.