Ten Tips to Surviving 2011

Surviving 2011
With a year of a recession behind us, we are now getting used to the lack of sales from years before, the new amount of customers just looking and the customers you do have trying to get the best their money can buy them.
Below are a few tips to help you survive in your business for 2011

  • 1.       Be flexible, the old ways of doing things will not match the new way people are thinking, so be flexible.  See what works and does not work and suit your product to that situation.  If people want a cheaper version of your product, see how you can use a more efficient technique to make it, or a more cost effective way to package the product without undermining the product itself.  Comparing your business now to a few years ago is wasting your energy….remodel and rethink, give yourself a fresh start and new goals.
  • 2.       Branch out…instead of dropping the price of your product, why not resize it or make a new branch of your product where you can be more flexible on the price!  A small sale is better than no income at all!
  • 3.       Make something for yourself…..when you just love doing something you seem to do it no matter what the cost…instead of having a bad sale make it for yourself and keep in mind that the market can change again so you will have new opportunities to sell in the future.
  • 4.       Learn something new…….if you are out sourcing something for your product that you could learn yourself, then while the market is slow this is a prime opportunity to learn.  There are many night classes in basic computing, web design, photography, graphic design, paper making, crochet, felt making ….the list goes on.  Learn something new today, even if it is not related to your craft, it opens up your creative inspiration.
  • 5.       Safety in numbers…… Working in a group means that you get more people to shoulder the costs, organising and risks.  Instead of organising an exhibition of your work and having just your advertising , finance and style of stock for the event, if you have a couple of other people exhibiting with you, you can attract a wider audience with a collection of styles of work to suit many different types of customers.  Joining your mailing list with those that are in the group means you will get a much bigger group of customers to see your work.  Other people will bring different skills to the event, as everyone cannot be great at everything, so sharing out all the work to be done before you begin means that you can work on your product as well as having input to the event, without the burden of being responsible for everything.
  • 6.       Old Stock recycled or in storage…….if there is an expensive item that has not paid its way and you are about to give up on it, if possible could you dismantle it and make it into something new or many new pieces. If you are attached to something there is nothing wrong with putting it in storage….there may be a time that you know it is right to sell it or when you can cash it in.
  • 7.       Stop selling your gold…….have you ever wondered who is buying all your old gold????? You are selling something that is incredibly valuable.  Do not sell gold, silver or any other metal that is ‘lying’ around…….you are selling your wealth!  When there are shops closing all over the country, how are these shops opening up in the smallest corners in every town….you are under selling your metals and it is the only thing that is not losing its value…..never has and probably never will.  People are not buying shares, property or using the stock market….they are buying gold and silver coins, blocks or whatever they can get their hands on.  If you are not in need of the meagre 50 euro you are getting for you old gold chain then stick your gold and silver in your safe….and leave it there! That’s your retirement fund!
  • 8.       Teach, Share or work in your community….. When selling your product is not enough to earn an income why not spread your skills to help others grow.  People usually know if they are set out to be teachers so it will be easy for them to fall into this roll - whether you approach your local school or community centre and ask them about teaching weekend classes or night courses in your chosen field, or do a one-off workshop where people can come for a day to do a complete project and enjoy lunch with likeminded people while learning a new skill.         There is also the opportunity of working with an active retirement group, children, disabled people or people with learning disabilities.   

  • 9.       Staff is your biggest outgoing cost……Having been an employer and an employee I understand both sides of this story.  All employers want their staff to be happy….happy staff work harder and are more effective and efficient when they are appreciated.  Employers know that staff need to be paid to keep them, but also know that wages are the biggest outgoing  and are the first thing that need to be cut to help a business survive.  Instead of letting your staff go,  by asking them to sub-contract themselves to you, you  are paying them for the work that they do for you, and you are allowing them to be independent if they can get other work too.  It is very hard to let good staff go, but if there is no business left for anyone then cut backs need to be made.
  • 10.   Don’t take it personally……you are only responsible for yourself.  You cannot make decisions for anyone else.   Take advice, criticism and help when you can and most of all listen to yourself.  We have got where we are today by experience and taking chances that feel right for ourselves. Listen to your gut feelings and most of all keep going…!

Karen Harper


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2 comments ↓

#1 Sharon on 01.02.11 at 12:29 pm

Excellent advice, Karen!!! Had to share it on…xx

#2 steph on 06.28.12 at 10:36 pm

Excellent advise and I have taken some of it on board and put it into practice eg. I started a Craft group, remoddelled some of my old stock, made smaller items, teaching, no staff,must do another course!!!! All this but th eclimate for selling has just gone down to nearly zero, any advice for 2012 I am trying not to take it personally, everybody loves my work but who is buying???
Should crafters just go to sleep till the recession fades away or keep going and burning out!!!I seem to be putting alot of effort in and people love looking but I cant eat the feedback!!!!

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