A lot has been happening in the “You’re Getting Warmer” category, even though I have not been writing about it. I haven’t been sewing as much since Christmas orders were mailed, which I expected. I have been working on growing the company. Networking, planning, laying groundwork.
Everything you read on starting a business emphasizes the importance of a “business plan”. But that has not been helpful to me, somehow. Especially in this business. They ask questions like “What is your sales area?” and “How many potential customers are in your sales area?” “What are sales goals for each year?” etc.
For an internet business, sales area is, well, everywhere. And how do you calculate the number of people who might be interested in your product (using demographic information and figures from other, similar businesses) if what you are making has never been seen or made before? And even if you could come up with these hypothetical numbers, so what?
So my business plan was: 1. Start telling everyone via email, face to face, facebook. Give samples, discounts, freebies, to get people to try it, because if they like it, they will tell others. 2. Put the website address on the Sleeve, so anyone who sees one knows where to go to browse or order. 3. Get the website up and functioning. (These were not in order–they actually all needed to be done about the same time) 4. Listen to the feedback and ideas I receive. 5. Try various ideas. If one works, refine it and continue it. If it doesn’t, move on. (Example: We tried a booth at the Farmer’s Market near us. We met a lot of great people, sold enough sleeves to pay for the booth but not our time, and quickly saw that it would not be part of a successful business strategy. Moved on.) 6. Always be thinking down the road.
I know, not fancy, but so far it is working for me! Next post I will tell you some of the ideas I am working on. I would welcome your feedback on them!