I hope you enjoy my new blog, with fluffy love and quacks, Mother Duck xxxx

Friday, 22 March 2013

Is a change as good as a rest?

Last year we changed our business Logo and several other small things concerning the business, the theory being that I needed to try and make a turn around in a difficult economy. Was it successful ? Yes, to a certain degree it was, I have seen a few more sales, not enough to make me a millionaire but enough to make me feel that it was worth fighting for my micro-business.

The change of logo was an expense but it did freshen the image of Dizzy Ducks Creations but I have received mixed responses; some people suggesting that it was too comic or immature for the products that I create. So I am in the process of deciding whether I should go for a total change again, maybe a more mature image.

Here is our current logo

I deleted products from our stock lines, added new lines. Started to make small changes in the way we run things at Duckie HQ but still it feels like I am chasing my own tail feathers. I know I am not alone, there are hundreds if not thousands of micro-businesses in a similar position some making dramatic and successful changes and others falling by the wayside and ceasing business.

We changed the events that we do, adding new ones and dropping the less successful so reaching a different face to face audience for our sales. We are updating the website, another part of the new image, and changing the shop system. We have also considered other online avenues for sales, such as Etsy, Folksy and Facebook to name but a few. We found that having a shop on Facebook was unsuccessful for us ... we had no sales over a period of 4 months so decided to remove it. We have tried selling via an album of pictures on Facebook again will little success, although many of our followers on Facebook declare how much they like our work. We had little success with Etsy although that is probably due to lack of effort on my part, something I have full intention of working on. I was trying to see how things went with Etsy before signing up for Folksy, although I have heard mixed reviews of both. I'll let you know in a future Blog how it goes with Etsy and if I join Folksy.

So is a change as good as a rest?
Do I feel better for making the changes I have?
Is the business better?

As a micro-business sole trader I think I can answer yes to all of the above but I also have to say that I have actively sought advice on running a small business, read several books on running a small craft business, followed Blogs and signed up for newsletters. I think the trap many of us fall into is a fear of change; we get comfortable in our small little rut and hear people around us saying things will change when we come out of the recession.

I believe the answer is to make small changes, update your branding, rationalise your stock, analyse your pricing, (have you got it right, are you charging for your time?).

Think about how others, especially your customers, see your business; is it looking tired and in need of an injection of something fresh? It doesn't have to cost a lot of money, a few sensible small changes such as deciding what stock works for you and what doesn't will help. Ask someone you trust to help you look closely at what you are doing; look at your pricing strategy etc.

You might be a sole trader micro or small business but you don't really have to do it alone, there are so many resources available to help.

Here is a small part of the stack of books I have on the desk, beside the desk, on the worktable, by the arm chair and in the car (I may be a little obsessed with self-help books for small businesses at the moment)  they are listed in no particular order - you need to research and see what is best for you. It is also worth checking Blogs - I will try and create a list of some I have found useful in my next Blog. If you have any books or Blogs to recommend please make sure you comment.

Some of my books (which I have to say are full of post it notes and pencilled comments)

*Crafting a Successful Business by Joanne Dewberry
(I also have this as an ebook on my Kindle)

*How to Make Money Using Etsy by Timothy Adam
(a new acquisition for me in the hope it will help me make some changes, I'll let you know what I think)

*The Crafter's Guide to Taking Great Photos by Heidi Adnum
(I think this is a must have for anyone taking pix for a website, Etsy, Folksy, or any other media platform to sell their goods)

*The Craft Business Handbook by Alison McNicol
*Craft Business Heroes by Alison McNicol

What small changes are you going to make or have you already made them?
One of the things I like about being a designer crafter is that I get to meet many like minded people who are, in the majority, friendly and happy to share hints and tips. I hope you have found this small insight into my crafting business thought provoking; Why not take a small step back a take a long look at what you are doing with your own small craft business as I am sure some small changes could make it work better for you.

fluffy love from
Mother Duck