When I started my business I knew that I did NOT want to be in the consumer end of it. I did not want to spend every day doing “onesies.” I wanted corporate accounts that would order multiples. Sure, when they needed one sympathy or one baby gift, we did them and were thrilled. BECAUSE they ordered many times throughout the year.
Holidays were, of course, the feast to August’s famine. COVID changed things dramatically. My corporate clients weren’t working…or were struggling to make payroll without layoffs…or were plain old hurting for money because THEIR accounts had dwindled.
For example, this meant that Administrative Professionals’ Week was dead. Writing paychecks was all employers around me could do. I was fortunate that anotherbasketeer near me retired and sent all of her clients to me. Hers WERE primarily consumer and they got me through what would have been a very slow year.
The point is that you cannot afford to make buying and marketing mistakes right now. (Not that we ever can, but now would be the kiss of death!)
Here are survival tips:
- Subscribe to everything that Joyce publishes. Learn from those of us who have been there AND made those mistakes. Learn “on our dollar” and avoid wasting your money.
- CLEARLY identify your target market and go for it. If you identify corporate, don’t go to craft shows to sell. If you identify consumer, get thee to PTO groups or church groups to speak on gifting.
- Make sure you subscribe to Joyce’s magazine.
- Don’t shop on impulse. After 25 years in business, I can still look around and see some things that I THOUGHT would be popular and I overbought on sale back then. But if they don’t sell, there is less than zero value in it because now they take up space and take precious allocated marketing dollars.
- Are you a subscriber to Joyce’s e-newsletters?
- Don’t do HOPE marketing. If I make baskets and HOPE they will sell, people will find me. NO THEY WON’T. There is too much “noise” out there and you need to be sure you are heard. Do you have a website that has clear photos and no spelling mistakes? (I once refused to purchase from a chocolate company that spelled caramel incorrectly on all of the jar labels.) Do you update it often? Do you have professional looking business cards? Is the message on your answering machine clear AND separate from your family’s phone line so that you are treated as a professional and not a hobbyist?
- Finally, are you investing in yourself by being a customer of everything that Joyce touches? There are decades upon decades of information in herpublications because of her years in the industry AND the years of all of thewriters. Use us!
Cheryl Pliskin Cheryl@jestnotes.com