Sunday, August 5, 2012

Biz Buzz - Holding On or When to Close Shop

early photography with flash
I see a lot of twitter and blog posts lately from sellers debating whether or not to give up their shops. I can tell you from several years of experience, that July is a very bad month and not one to really judge the validity of your marketing and design skill from.

There are several factors that should go into your decision making. First look at your annual profit. July and early August are slow. It's a great time to relax and organize. Look at your sales figures and do your monthly sales for the first half of the year. That way, in January, you won't have so much to do. I do monthly profit sheets so I can see how I compared to the previous years. You may think this will upset you to see your sales figures, but you might just be surprised at what trends you find. For instance, although this was a lousy July, it was still better than last year for me.

natural light photo
If your sales are a bit lower, don't be discouraged. this was a particularly bad July. the only reason my sales were up at all, is because I opened a new venue since last July.

Look at your product. Are there too many similar items on your venue? Are you unique enough to hold on? If not, think of what you can do to make yours different. It can even be customer service or packaging. How about making your tags out of seed embedded papers, or packaging in a little reusable satin bag? Your product may be pretty, but what makes you special. This is a perfect time to take a good hard look at what you're selling.

How about Photography? Do your photos outshine your competition? Handmadeology has some great photography tips HERE.

professional photography
Maybe you're just tired of trying to climb to the top. Maybe it's just hot, and you're too busy with the kids, and your sales are so low this month, that you just don't want to try anymore. It's OK. We are not all cut out for this thing. Some people are better at selling in person at shops or craft/art shows too. Internet sales is a lot of extra work with photography and marketing and listing descriptions. The reason I like it, is that I can make a sample and, then make the product when it sells. I don't have to have an inventory. Very nice for my very small house.

Let's take a close look at your bottom line.

PHOTOGRAPHY - Is it good enough? Look at my early photos compared to my pro photos and improved home photography. Can yours improve too?

PRODUCT - Is your product unique? When I started selling beach glass jewelry, I was the only Etsy seller with it. Then there came all the others, so I decided to try something unique. My flame shaped flowers are different that others on the market. Are they unique enough? Maybe not, because I'm considering dropping this line and moving on to something else.

PROFIT - This is the biggest deciding factor. Are you making a profit? If you haven't made even the tiniest profit in 3 years, you are doing this because you love it.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with loving your craft and not making a profit,but if it has become a chore, and you don't love what you're doing anymore, then your decision to quit is valid. It's OK to so something you don't love if you are getting something out of it, but if your heart doesn't sing, and your wallet is empty, you just might be right. There is a place for you and your art  in the world somewhere. maybe just not online sales.

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