The current market and, in particular, the rise of online boutique, has made it a lot easier to make a little money by selling your furniture and decorative pieces online. A lot of people are starting to get a taste for making money by selling creations that they put real passion into. Many of them want to step up to the next level. If you’re of that opinion, then you’re going to need to up your game. Here’s how you turn your artisanal efforts into a real business.
Plan for growth
You’re going to lay out the roadmap of how your business is going to operate going forward. If you don’t have a proper business structure separate from your personal accounts, now’s the time to start it. Create budgets and plans on how much you need to sell to start becoming profitable. Do your market research and find the niche you can fit. Start designing pieces that not only fit your own tastes but the trends of the market as it stands. Know your audience and start figuring out how you’re going to reach them and convert them into customers. Knowing your direction by creating documents like a business plan helps you focus on objectives while dealing with the hectic day-to-day of the business.
Hire the right people
If you want to scale your operation up, you’re likely going to need other people to help you. Managing a business and creating furniture at the same time can be difficult. So, who are you going to need? More professionals to help you make furniture? People to handle admin, marketing, and outreach? You should also consider the extra tasks of yours that you don’t necessarily need to hire for. For instance, in building a website or getting your accounts organized and up to date, you can easily outsource, as well. Look at your business plan and separate duties by different roles, then start hiring to fit those roles or using outsourced services to fill them instead.
Get more sensible with your resources
You’ll need a proper plan on how you’re going to handle resources like money and materials. Especially if you’ve received a loan from banks or investors, you need to start accounting for where the money goes. You’re also going to want to make sure that you’re not spending too much on any one aspect of the business. You don’t want costs of materials, tools, and machinery to skyrocket because you’re not buying in bulk, for instance. Get in touch with industrial suppliers, like Kenyon Group, instead of heading for your usual supply store. Use bulk orders from business providers particularly if you’re starting to upscale your business to deal with higher projected demands.
Run sharper logistics
If you’re delivering products, then you’re going to need to not only focus on improving your own supply but also how you supply to your consumers. If you can handle your own logistics, then you should be looking into how to make your packaging and mailing operations all the more efficient and using real data like GPS tracking to make sure your deliveries are as convenient and expedient as possible. A lot of businesses don’t have the room in their budget to account for their fulfillment services, however, so it’s worth considering whether or not you should use outsourced fulfillment companies. These can work as an operational stopgap until you scale to the point you’re able to assume full control over all aspects of the logistics.
Establish your identity
Besides running a smooth company on the inside, you also need to think about building a better perception of the business from the outside. Smaller bespoke operations might let their products do the talking for them. If you want to grow, however, you need to develop an image that talks for the products. For instance, think of the niche you’re hitting and the market you’re targeting. Think about what they value most, whether it’s aesthetic, function, value or otherwise. One of the best ways to establish an online identity is by using content marketing. You can showcase your works by creating décor guides, for instance, showing how your own products can help facilitate the lifestyle that your customers are aiming for.
Spread your name far and wide
After you’ve got the identity and brand of the business nailed down, you need to start figuring out how you disseminate it. Your marketing approach needs to be proactive. You need to make your website more visible through search engine optimization. You have to take to social media, showing galleries of your work, promoting your content and your services. You also need to get on social media to simply be open to feedback from customers and asking their questions. For those customers you win over, consider starting a newsletter, keeping them abreast of all the latest tips and offers. You should consider even adding extra incentive by offering exclusive deals or content only for subscribers.
Start shaking hands
Putting some effort and time into your marketing is crucial. But you shouldn’t be doing it all on your own. You should be making use of the networking opportunities and the community around you to help spread the name even further. For instance, if you know gallery owners, then consider getting your furniture featured in their galleries. Trade shows and seasonal markets are more opportunities you should consider to make your products more physically visible. Establishing your physical presence is important especially if you do most of your business through retailers or online. Of course, using online methods of networking is just as important. For instance, consider using bloggers to feature your pieces in return for a free sample. Get your business featured in the media with announcements, events or off-the-wall marketing strategies.
You don’t have to sacrifice your quality, the bespoke nature of your pieces, or what you love about making furniture. All you have to do is create a real framework for a business beneath it. That passion is a crucial ingredient to success, so keep hold of it.