A Designer or a Business? Which one are you?

Looking at Our Industry with Different Eyes
What Is Your Business Model?
Are You a Designer or Are You a Business?

The end of the year is when we usually go back and review what we accomplished or failed to do during the year, but as we enter the last stage of the holiday season, it’s a good time to put that thinking cap on and review (at least in your head) what you did right or wrong and if there is any way to make a quick adjustment.

As I think back about many of the businesses who came out of the chute riding on the back of beautiful designs but failed to survive, I realize that one of the primary reasons for that failure was the choice of the wrong business model, which affects everything that you do in your business.

If you think that your business model is designing gifts and gift baskets, good luck with that.  But if you realize that your designs are just your product and not your business model, you’ve got a very good chance to make a really good business.  You see this in various Facebook groups where folks post picture after picture of a completed gift basket, that they are proud of, but fail to discuss much of anything else.

Although there are those who would disagree, learning to design beautiful gifts and gift baskets is easy.  All you need to do is learn the techniques and have an eye for color.  Creating the newest fad of gift boxes is even easier to become an expert at.  But creating a business that actually makes a profit year in and year out is not so easy.

I proved that when I started my gift basket business.
I didn’t know the first thing about design, couldn’t even tie a decent bow.
But I created a business that was PROFITABLE the very first year.

Each of us came to this industry with different backgrounds, different experiences, and different expectations.  The mistakes that we make become new experiences.  And we can either learn from them and change our business model and methods or go our merry way and never change a thing.

The biggest mistake that has been made, in the magazines and conventions and other learning resources created by our industry, is concentrating on designing as the business model and neglecting the nitty-gritty details of actually creating a business.

Sure, designs are important for sales but how are you going to get the sales if you don’t get the traffic into your store or to your website and if you can’t keep the folks there once they arrive?

In the midst of this corona virus pandemic, I’ve spent the past several months reviewing my own business models — for both my gift business website and for my information website (GiftBasketNetwork.com and Shopcreativegifts.com).

The model for my gift business is an e-commerce sales funnel with gifts and gift baskets as the product.

The model for the information website and for the GiftBasketNetworkINSIDER magazine is and will continue to be helping people in the gift and gift basket industry CREATE AND GROW A PROFITABLE BUSINESS.  Sure, we’ll continue to show designs and include design related articles.  After all, pictures make a magazine easier to read and we all like pretty designs.  But even though we’ve received some flack about it through the years, designs have never been the primary focus.

I‘ve been told that we should have more  photos of people’s designs.  Why?  To give you ideas?  You can find ideas by simply trolling other websites and seeing what they are producing and hopefully selling — not to copy but to get your imagination moving.

If you look back through old issues of both of the former magazines — Rave Reviews and Gift Basket Review — you’ll find page after page of photos of gorgeous designs.  More designs than articles.  More design related articles than making a business profitable ones.

But if you look at them closely, although there are exceptions, most are not ones that you would sell.  Compare these designs with those found on the top-selling gift basket sites on the web, and you’ll discover that they look very different

I subscribed to Gift Basket Review from the moment I first discovered it and to Rave Reviews beginning with the very first issue.  I was even a staff writer for Rave Reviews.  I always looked forward to receiving both of them until they were discontinued but they were both quick reads as I glanced at the photos and read the articles.

If you’re just interested in looking at other people’s beautiful designs and trying to create something similar, there is nothing wrong with that.  But if you interested in actually having a business and making money, that had better be your business model.

So many people jump into this industry with little business knowledge, even less
marketing knowledge, and the misconception that anyone can start a gift/gift basket business.  And when they struggle, lose money, and eventually die, they wonder why.

That is why we started the magazine, the website, the Success Express blog.  That is why we created a business model of helping YOU create and grow your business.  And that is why we don’t have page after page of designs.

In the very beginning – almost eleven years ago — we looked at the business models used by the magazines that are no longer around,  where we felt they failed for us, and were determined to fill the voids that we felt were there.

Some may call our business model heresy because it is so different from the standards set by the magazines that came before us.  Others may say, “It’s about time!”  We hope you will decide for yourself.

And, yes, we would love to hear what you decide.

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