New Year, new business goals

Posted by: Red Rock Designs

So the new year is here, and most of us usually start the year by thinking about personal resolutions, like eating healthy, being more active, spending more time with family & friends.  For the corporate or business minded, we are entering the 1stQuarter, with this year’s expenses to think of; forecasting models nearby; and business goals to achieve.

For us, hobby-business owners and sellers of our craft, having a few business goals is not a bad thing.  It certainly does not have to be a long arduous process with schematics pinned to every wall, an industrial calculator spewing numbers at us and a frenzied worry of what this year will bring.  For us, having a few goals can help us keep focus so that we have a better idea of where we want our crafty business to go.  Here are a few goals to think about:

Lower expenses – if you don’t need it, don’t buy it.  As a hobby-business owner your mantra should be SAVE, SAVE, SAVE.  If something is free, use it until it can’t serve its purpose anymore, or your business has grown and requires more.  A lot of media sites offer free features or pages, like Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google +; and a whole host of others.  It’s free to get your name out there! Also, try to find the most economical deals.  For example, when I searched for storage bins for my supplies, the most useful ones were from the discount dollar store!  I also use old glass jars, from things like pickles, salsa, coffee and jams.  Just be sure to thoroughly wash the jars so your supplies don't smell like food.bottles and jars for organization and storage

Join a business community or networking group– this is a great way to exchange ideas, meet and get to know other crafters or artisans, finding tips & advice within your craft, finding the best suppliers, and learning new techniques.  There are many clubs, societies or organizations that are available in communities, by checking your local library, community centre, arts centre, even online forums; you may find groups that fit your crafting needs.

Learn how to delegate (if you can afford to) – I quickly learned that I cannot do everything all the time.  Do some research in your community, there may be a marketing student looking to bulk up their resume, and will provide their marketing expertise for free or at a reasonable affordable rate. This works well too for photography students, art students, journalism / creative writing students.  Think of your circle of friends and what they do for a living, and make a trade with them – their expertise for one of your products.    

Learn for your business – learning new skills & improving old skills always makes us better people, whether it’s for your business or personally.  Check your local library, region or city, which may offer free business seminars for new entrepreneurs.  These can include topics like marketing, taxes, and book-keeping.  If you feel ambitious, enrol in a college or university level course.  If you have a part-time business, maybe some formal education can also help you advance in your day job?!    

Consistently promote your business– my advice is do invest in business cards.  Business cards are the most easy and convenient way to promote your business.  Leave a card here, leave a card there.  If your product is small enough, place it in your car hanging from the rear view mirror or use a corner of your back windshield to display your product or a sign.  Remember your vehicle moves from place to place with a wide audience all around, be creative in using your vehicle to help promote your business (provided you don’t block your driving view or distract other drivers).  Use your family & friends as your support system as well by leaving samples in their offices or to give to their clients as gifts.        

Give back to the community– I’m a big believer in karma, what you do in the universe will always come back to you, whether it’s positive or negative.  Giving back can be as simple as donating a couple of your items to a cause, organization, fundraiser, or even a door prize.  Slip in a few business cards and you’ll be noticed…and more importantly remembered.  Giving back can also include teaching your craft to locals, kids, seniors; hosting parties, being a sponsor for a charity; making a monetary donation in the name of your business.  This is all good press that you want your business to receive.  Giving back to the community not only makes you feel good inside, it helps you and your business become a part of the community.  

Give back to the community; pic courtesy of SheKnows Cares website

Get more customers– easier said than done, I know.  And there’s no ONE sure-fire answer…at least I haven’t found it yet!  I can only offer you what I’ve learned:

Don’t sit back and wait for customers to just come.  Be out there promoting, selling, sharing, teaching, involving yourself.   

Hard work always gets results & recognition.

Orders for handmade items are usually based on customer referrals. 

Quality over quantity. 

Setting and achieving business goals will definately get people noticing.

And finally, Remember you– work, school, kids, chores, hobby.  Sometimes we run ourselves ragged trying to get things done.  I know for most, crafting is a way to relax, unwind, re-boot, by just focusing on what’s to be done at hand, you escape from this chaotic world.  But do remember that your craft is a hobby which should be enjoyed.  If you begin to feel like it’s work, then stop and take a break, go for a walk, soak in the tub, play with your kids.  If your “craft” is more of a business than a hobby, take a vacation, you deserve it. 

Feel free to share your goals for the new year, business-related or personal.  Feel free to post any other goals, advice or comments.  

Give Back pic courtesy of SheKnows Cares website

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Oct 4, 2013 | iCraft Admin

Thanks for the tips, Red Rock Designs! Good point about Auto Insurance.

Oct 3, 2013 | Red Rock Designs

Just a quick follow up and tip on my above sentence: If your product is small enough, place it in your car hanging from the rear view mirror or use a corner of your back windshield to display your product or a sign......using your vehicle to help promote your business.

I've learned that some insurance companies will cancel your automobile insurance policy if a business sign is displayed on your vehicle because then your vehicle is considered a "commercial vehicle", not for personal use. This hasn't happened to me, but I work in the insurance industry and learned this bit of info recently. Be sure to speak to your insurance company before placing any business signs on your vehicle, or just remove them. But there's no harm with keeping product in your vehicle to display.

Jan 9, 2013 | Red Rock Designs

I myself am trying to blog more, and not just posting pics of my products...trying to show more personality!

Jan 3, 2013 | Fairy Cardmaker

Great tips! I like the "squeeze all you can out of free" tip. There are lots of free programs on the web to help web-based businesses too: from image management, shopping cart systems, and even accounting programs.

I've been on break over these holidays, but when my books are all read, I will be leaning back in to my craft. I have LOTS of photos to take and projects to set myself to.

Jan 3, 2013 | Delightful Suds

Great tips. One of my goals this year is to expand my product line :)

Jan 3, 2013 | Jewelry by Kat

Great advice and ideas!!

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Red Rock Designs (aka Red Rock Designs )
Oakville, ON, Canada

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