Being a small business can sometimes make us feel like we have limitations especially when starting out. Comparing ourselves to to larger or more mature online businesses with a team of people doing all the things you know you should be doing. Let’s just take a moment and remember that you’re only one person with 24 hours a day and well we all do need to sleep and like to eat. So how do we re-write the narrative and really shift our mindsets to easy these limitation we know we have as a small business owner and even use it as a unique selling point.
In this episode depends on the type of business you are I’m speaking to more so online makers and one of kind creators that sell wonderful handmade products online. One of the most common problems with creative makers and sellers is the constant battle of time. We all experience trying to runout the clock in business, and really we need to just remember that we handmade creations take time however, experienced and skilled you are. We may never be able to make 10 a day or worse you achieve this a led to burn out. Today I want to take some time to see how we can use these limitations and make them into a unique selling point.
Remember to Charge for Labour
With a one-person led product based businesses just can’t compete with larger or even mid size manufacturing businesses and you don’t need to be either. The time it takes to make your creations is only a limitation if you let it be. What I mean by this is if you’re pricing you’re creations to low and it’s barely covering the labour cost it takes to hand make each one you can start to resent the creation process. But when you know you’re essentially being paid for those hours it takes to make it then it’s reduces the stress as well as reduces the amount that you may need to sell every month and therefore reduces the amount you need to making. Remember just because you selling it at a lower cost doesn’t alway mean it’s easier to sell.
So if you have found yourself pulling your hair out at 2 o’clock in the morning just because you can’t keep up on the amount of orders. Maybe consider re-evaluating your prices, I know a lot of handmade makers create there product in batches so you may have to work out a fair prices for yourself and your customers. Another advantage to being a creator and seller is that your pieces are usually already so specially because they’ve been made by you and your hands not a machine, not on a large manufacturing conveyer belt each creation can be slightly unique. You may have actually forgotten that this is a unique selling point.
The Made to Order Approach
This leads me to my next point that you can reduce material costs by providing a made to order approach. Obviously this can depend on the products you make. Most small business I’ve spoke with are sometimes fearful that a made to order approach means there people have to wait longer, and I can see how this can be very much an inconvenient in certain buying situations like printer ink cartridges we all find comfort knowing that we can get them delivery same day off amazon. However, it’s very different circumstances you’re not selling a common commodity but rather a bespoke pieces, when selling something original and handmade like pottery or candles. It’s unlikely that your customers will be needing it so urgently and therefore are willing to wait and understand that this is apart of the bespoke service. And actually when I’ve purchased made to order items they can actually sometimes feel more specially as the piece was really only made for you and wouldn’t of been created if you hadn’t purchased it.
Benefits to Made to Order Approach
This approach can also provide your brand a more eco-conscious outlook. If this feels important to you then by all mean make sure your making your ideal customers customers aware that your made to order means not producing more than you sell and less material waste which is better for the environment etc.
Limited Collection Runs
Lastly if you create a collection or a series of products, you might want to test out and introduce limited collection runs. This mean you still have the freedom to keep create and introducing new products without having to keep up with making previous design you offer on your site. So for example If you have 3 different collections maybe pottery and in each collection you 5 to 10 items throughout the year you make one collection available at a time – this means each collection you offer aren’t alway available all year round.
Example : fFern Organic Perfume Company
Limited collection runs mean you’re create windows of opportunity for people to purchase from a specific collection. When we know we have limited time to purchase something it create urgency and makes people take action now rather than wait or think on it and then all together forget about it. A brand that does this really well is Ffern spelt Ffern they are an organic perfume company and they only offer a limited number of bottled perfumes every year they have a specific number of spaces and once on their list you’re provided one bottle of perfume every season. This approach make each bottle feel very specially and make their customer feel like they are wearing very exclusive perfume!
The Benefits to Limited Collection Runs
Obviously alway keep all your collection visible and push for email list sign ups to be notified when collections with re-open for order. You may want to be aware that this approach may not work in conjunction with made to order due to limited time allocation. So you may want to create a waiting list so you have an idea on many people will purchase within the collection run, and you can start making inventory before it opens. Remember to make it clear how your shop works this show yours customer how your different. This approach can make people nervous and may not work for every maker and seller out there. But executed well it can create high demand for your products and you can even consider increasing your price points on each product collection after the first run depending on feed back and how popular they were. I think the benefit to this way is you can provide yourself the space to be create and think up new designs and new collections without being fearful of losing sales. If you make it a unique selling point your ideal people will remember you for it.
Reimagine the Way You Do Business
It’s time to stop focus on what you can’t do and how much you can’t make or how long it takes to make your products because you’re one person try to see the silver lining. You can decide how you want to run your online shop, and the way you provide your products etc. You don’t have to do what everyone else is doing or compare yourself to larger companies. You’re a one of a kind pieces have so much to offer and creating a business that works for you will reduce the likely hood of burn out. Plus if you make provide clear reason to why you work the way you do and create a more unique experience in-relationship with your brand your ideal customer will remember you for it. you for it. If you missed last weeks episode give it a listen now!