This week, I had what we’ll call a growth week. (Because given the recent tragedy, I have no right to say I had a bad week.) But I did have one of those weeks where it was more challenging than fun to run my own business.
On Monday, my cozy/cuff was featured on Etsy’s facebook page. While this little mention did wonders for my page views that day (and did generate some sales), it also kicked off a discussion that included some not too positive comments. (You can read more about it on my personal blog.)
But after the initially getting down about the negative comments, I finally decided to focus on the positive lessons I could take from the experience. And I thought I’d share them here with you:
1. Appreciate that people are talking about you. – When you’re a small company (or a one person show) you biggest worry might not be negative feedback – it might be that no one is talking about you at all. Obscurity is a huge challenge for designers and crafters, and any attention can help drive sales. (Regretsy is proof of this.) Now I’m not advocating that you start creating poorly made products or resort to horrible customer service just to get people talking. (This will NOT help you.) What I mean is, if you create a product that generates a little controversy, use it to your advantage. (Case in point, Margaux Lange’s Creepy… but Cool). Because while not everyone will love your product, just the fact that people are talking about it can send traffic your way.
2. Not everyone is your customer. (And not every market is your market.) – And that’s ok. Unless you make something that everyone uses from day to day (like toilet paper), not everyone is going to buy your product. What’s important is that you are able to identify your customer, and start bringing your product into the markets where your customer shops.
3. Use customer feedback to refine your marketing message. – This may be the biggest breakthrough I had this week. There are often many different angles you can take to market your product. Maybe you play up the fact that its handmade, or that its a unique home decor item, or some other hook. But some of those angles may not be a good fit for the aesthetic of your object, or the price, or your personality. By listening to conversations about your work, whether on the web or in person, you can help position your product in a way that best serves the product.
I’ve now got a new mantra that I’m using to direct the photography, tag-lines, descriptions, placement, and overall marketing of the cozy/cuff. Its an ongoing process, but it feels like I’m headed in the right direction. And listening to that criticism gave me the push I needed.
So next time you have a challenging week as a business owner, ask yourself – “what lessons can I take from this to help grow my business?” Sometimes a slight shift in perspective is all it takes to turn a negative into a positive.