I've loved sharing some of my insights into business recently. What have I missed?
If you have any questions, please feel free to post your questions here and I'll do my best to help.
Questions and answers below!
Question from Kelley: How do I build internet traffic for my webstore. . . blog. . . etc? Any resources you can point me to, or advice would be awesome!
Answer: Make sure to use social media to your advantage. Build a Facebook page for your business and connect with others there. You really need to build a following and this can take time. Make sure not to be spam-like with those you connect with (Try not to bombard people with posts). If you build a slow and steady following, it will be filled with others who are truly interested in what you have to offer. Best wishes on your webstore!
Question from Reese: I would love to hear your advice on turning an idea into reality. I've got some great ideas, but I have no idea how to actually execute them.
Answer: Truly, my business has been a lot of work. It's taken ten years to get where I am with my business. In the beginning, I worked really hard to reach out to others who it made sense to connect with. Country Living Magazine, Emma Lee Turney (The founder of the Round Top Antiques Show), etc. to tell them about what we were doing and hoping that we could connect in some way. Along the way, I had a strong vision for the business and made sure to stay true to that. I think you need to get your vision into place and then run with it. Build up your business and then reach out to others, promote your business, do everything you can think of to make it strong and viable.
Question from Stacey: What do you do when what you love (interior decorating and styling) is not something "new" like you talked about in your previous "idea" post...how do you stand out in a crowd? The only real difference (or possibly limitation) i have is that i specialize in cottage decor. I just started a new decorating site at http://cottageindustryinterior.com. I'd love for you to take a look and welcome any advice you may have.
Answer: First, I think it's important that you are specializing in something that you obviously love and that's your niche. I'd bet there are no other interior decorators in your area that specialize in cottage decor - and that's perfect! You wouldn't want to open a muffin shop on a street with five other muffin shops. :) I think you have a beautiful website that's really easy to navigate. One tip: Make sure to credit any images you post that aren't your own to the original source - anywhere you post them... your website, facebook, etc. Good luck!
Question from Camille: Where does one start when taking a storefront business online? What do you see from your experience as being the biggest challenges with going online? Which program would you say is best to use for the shopping online? And, if you were asked what would you do differently now regarding your business both online and other avenues like shows, what would you say?
Answer: Make sure you have a really great website that is easy to navigate, and with working links. You really have one chance to pull someone in and if it's not easy, they'll be gone in a few seconds. There are so many shopping cart services that it's mind boggling. You may need to work with a professional to get yours set up. Really, it's going to take a lot of work on your part to do the research on what you like, what you don't like and then go from there. What I did differently with my business is that we originally had a webstore that I eventually was filling the orders for. It was just way too much work and not what I had in mind for the business, so I closed it down and now focus on other parts of my business that I enjoy. Take care.
Question from Cyndi: In your opinion, what's the single best and single worst thing a new small business can learn from?
Answer: My style in business is to just go for it and to learn from successes and mistakes along the way. It's important to not let failures bring you down, because you will fail at some things and that's okay. If you're tenacious and believe in what you're doing, you'll be okay.