I thought I knew all there was about running a business until I co-launched SticksArtStonesonline.com. For years I have been, and will continue to work as a consultant, helping clients engage with their audiences. But it wasn’t until I launched my own small retail business, with my father-in-law and business partner, Dave, (with the help of his son, Adam, my brother-in-law to be) that I really began to appreciate what is really involved.
Established as an additional business to fit around Jason’s PR & brand consultancy agency, ‘…talktojason’, SticksArtStonesonline.com is an ethical business which not only fully supports Fairtrade, but also donates £5, out of every £35, spent online to Parkinson’s UK, a charity Dave has been associated with since he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s some years ago. Although only launched on 1st June 2013, SticksArtStonesOnline is growing into a small, well-established independent retailer. “My experience for creating brands and marketing businesses is starting to produce results and we have a clearly defined identity, which is well received by everyone we meet.” States Jason
Top ten tips:
1, Think realistically:
When it comes to starting a business you need to have a clear idea for what it is you want to achieve and how you plan to get there. Don’t go thinking by investing lots of money you will become an overnight success.
Research is vital. Remember, only fool’s rush in! I think too many people focus on looking the part and miss what sometimes seems to be the obvious. Get to know your market place. Undertake a full analysis of any competition, their pricing structures, promotional framework and even the communication channels their use. Your research will help you understand if there is a need and a want for your proposed business idea.
At SticksArtStonesonline.com our business mantra is simple: Fairtrade means Fair Prices! UK consumers are not after cheap they are after value. And there is a big difference between the two. Consumers are not only marketing savvy, but also price savvy and they are able to quickly compare prices.
SticksArtStonesonline.com also donates £5, out of every £35, spent to Parkinson’s UK, a charity that Dave has been associated for since he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s a couple of years ago.
When it comes to marketing, think creative! Marketing doesn’t just mean putting together words that sound great. It also means you fully understand your market place. Your marketing programme should be heavily influenced by the research you undertook. You should also tie-in your marketing activity with calendar events, such as sporting programmes and festivals. Also, when it comes to marketing, work with the local media and using social networking channels is a must.
5, Routes to market:
When it comes to selling you products think online and offline. SticksArtStonesonline.com sells its product through craft markets and through our online shop, helping us to reach more customers.
At SticksArtStonesonline.com, Dave, my father-in-law and business partner and I are the cleaners, the buyers, the accounts people and tea makers. You must be prepared to roll your shelves up and get stuck in and be involved in every aspect of the business. How else will you learn how the business works and who your customers are? Also, work smarter not harder. This is how i can easily continue to work as …talktojason and help out on weekends with SticksArtStonesonline.com
7, Be realistic:
Rome wasn’t built in a day but it has lasted thousands of years. When it comes to starting a business to need to be patient. Some days will be great but remember that other may be poor. You have to remember what it is you want to achieve and have confidence in yourself (this is key!). Keep going for as long as it is financially reasonable and achievable. You also need to know when to it is time to stop and change direction.
We should all work to live, not live to work. So when you can, take a break and recharge your batteries. Set yourself a reward scheme. When you succeed at something treat yourself. It doesn’t need to be financial. It could be an afternoon off, or a celebration lunch.
No matter how big or small your business, if your reputation is poor it will be reflected in your overall sales figures. Remember that ultimately great customer service will also support your business. And this should be reflected across all external channels, from one-to-one customer interaction to the online buying experience. Customers always remember the little touches and when you go the extra mile for them.
Our vision is to grow SticksArtStonesonline.com into a sustainable family owned and run business. As well as Dave and I running the day-to-day activities, we also get other members of the family involved so they can help develop the business. My philosophy is to always aim high, which means I want SticksArtStonesonline.com to become a major retail success. You should adopt this way of thinking in order help you keep focus on the long game.