Tag Archives: small businesses

4 Tips To Improve Your Customer’s Experience

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4 Tips To Improve Your Customer’s Experience

The comfort of your customers matters, this also goes for your targeted customers as well. Tending to the things that will improve the overall experience of your potential customers and clients will keep people returning to your business. Returning customers will help your business boom as they are also more likely to recommend you to others. Start with the following to make working with you the best experience possible:

Know your target audience:

In any business, it’s important to pick a niche because that’s where the money is at. You need to know exactly who your target audience is. Never try to be broad when targeting your audience. If you’re trying to sell something such as a joint case, then you need to know exactly the type of customer who will buy that. You don’t want to make people, even those who are not your target, uncomfortable as this can damper your business’s reputation. Know your target demographic, understand that niches are fine, and don’t be broad.

Have a professional website:

Maybe it’s high time that your business gets a website makeover. Every few years a business should get one in order to combat looking outdated and unused. Even in web design, trends change and it can be a good thing to try out those new ideas. Getting regular updates can also help with keeping your security on your website tight. Many scammers and hackers will target unprotected and even unprofessional websites to leak data or even put up malware.

Have a professional online appearance:

Just like you’ll want to have a professional looking website, you should also look into having a professional appearance online as well. This is going to include creating a LinkedIn account for yourself and your business, and regularly being active on it. This should go for other aspects of social media as well. If you don’t already have a Facebook page for your business, you should do that. The same can be said for Instagram and Twitter.

Just make sure that you keep the appearance strictly professional. This means not picking a fight with naysayers!

Be open to customer testimonials:

Customer reviews and testimonials are how many people will base whether they’ll buy from a business or not. So just make sure that you don’t have this closed off. Everyone is entitled to their own thoughts and opinions based on their own experiences. Plus, it’s going to look suspicious if you have nothing but perfect reviews.

Help your business reach its potential with the tips above. Making sure the customer experience is excellent is the best way to start.

Featured Image By: Unsplash

Giving A Boost To Your Boutique

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Giving A Boost To Your Boutique

Being a small business owner is exciting – especially during the holiday season as shoppers visit your local storefront. Your boutique is something that can always be improved to make the experience even better for your customers. Today, we are going to discuss a few ways to boost the aesthetic of your store to turn one time shoppers into repeat customers:

Utilize A Beverage Cart:

How nice would it be for customers to enjoy a hot coffee or cold soda during their shopping? A beverage cart is a simple solution that will definitely boost the experience of shopping in your store. Invest in a Keurig with a wide selection of coffee, tea, and hot chocolate pods. Or, you could have a mini fridge with water bottles and pop. Small touches like these will be much appreciated by your customers!

Shopping Incentives:

Everyone likes a good deal and it’s exciting to feel like you’re getting a lot of bang for your buck. You could run a once per month promotion or give a coupon for the next purchase to provide incentive for customers to keep coming back. How often do you get coupons in the mail and feel a hankering to go to a store even if you might not need anything? Chances are, you’re going to walk away with more than you bargained for because it was a great deal.

Improve The Appearance:

The appearance of your boutique is always something that can be changed up for a whole new shopping experience. Potted plants, plush rugs, unique lighting fixtures, or artwork from local artists are all good places to start. Applying ceiling tiles to your business will make a big difference for customers. The same goes for things like an awesome playlist or even a fish tank! This is your chance to get even more creative so have fun with it.

Local Collaborations:

Local collaborations are a cool way to introduce new people to your store. Do you own a clothing boutique? Pair with a local jewelry maker to provide an outfit perfect with a hand crafted necklace. How about a coffee shop? Try an open mic night with local performers. Don’t forget to get in touch with bloggers and influencers! Collaborations are a win/win for everyone involved as it will get your names out there and bring in customers who might not even be aware that your storefront exists.

Local businesses are an important part of any community. Make yours one of the best with the tips above!

Polymer Clay Accessories Are Bringing Back A Funky Trend

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Polymer Clay Accessories Are Bringing Back A Funky Trend

The growth of the online shopping industry has encouraged budding entrepreneurs to get creative in making their products as unique as possible. Trends in accessorizing have leaned toward asymmetrical looks, like mismatching earrings to highlight each one as an individual work of art. More than ever, photo editing for jewelry eCommerce shops has become necessary if the entrepreneur wants their campaign to be successful.

Recently, polymer clay came into prominence due to the unlimited designs that accessory makers can shape and bake. Aside from the available colors of the clay, artists have the option of creating new ones similar to how you might form a new color from mixing paint. The shapes can also have iterations without limiting makers due to how easy it is to mold clay.

It is also more durable once baked compared to cheaper materials that are mass produced. The assurance that the accessory will be long-lasting, unique, and personalized encourages the market to prefer it as an addition to their collection. These are just a few of the reasons why these accessories are so special:

Durability Of The Material:

So long as the accessory is baked and shaped properly, it cannot be broken by hand. This curing process allows it to be stronger while imprinting on the mold or the shape formed. If it is not performed according to the curing instructions for your clay, it will become brittle and easy to break. Due to its durability, it is easier for shop owners to ship to their customers without the possibility of them breaking.

These accessories might be a bit more expensive than the normal off the rack accessories, but they allow you to style yourself without the worry of glued on objects falling off. They will also be cheaper than the more luxurious kinds of accessories while allowing you to be more expressive about your personality.

Personalized Accessories:

Polymer accessories are often used to make tourist key chains because they can be easily personalized. The clay acts as a sandbox for the customer, allowing them to request any design they prefer. Names, phrases, and even likeness can be imprinted on the clay depending on the method used by the artist.

This medium is similar to having commissioned artwork, wherein the client can have a say in what is produced. The items can be personalized for a particular event like a wedding, anniversary, or the perfect gift for a friend.

Each Is Unique:

Early in the 2010s, IKEA released vases that would have hand prints on each one from the potter. The argument for this design was to make them unique and to have an imprint of the human touch. Each polymer clay accessory made are likely to be handcrafted and pressed with the artist’s fingers. Although they might avoid leaving unintentional prints on their designs, the uniqueness of each item cannot be avoided because humans cannot perfectly replicate one design.

There will always be a small adjustment or a faint hint of the attempt to duplicate the original. Even though the customer might not notice the difference, the artist can likely identify their experience when presented with an accessory, even if it is one of two in a set of earrings.

Polymer clay is yet another platform for creativity to enter the fashion world. It encourages vibrant and one of a kind designs to entice the public with the chance for a unique addition to their look!

Featured Image By: ArtHouse Studio from Pexels

Making Your Small Business Dreams Come True

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Making Your Small Business Dreams Come True

For some people, working for themselves is the ultimate dream and starting your own small business is the perfect way to make it happen. From your own Etsy shop to an actual storefront, businesses come in many shapes and sizes and can make for a wonderfully rewarding career. Starting your own business is a lot of hard work and today, we are going to discuss some ideas to help you in your future endeavors. Let’s get started:

Planning Makes Perfect:

A huge portion of starting your business comes from planning ahead and carrying out that plan to make it happen. You can start by asking yourself a few basic questions and going from there:

  • What type of product or service do I want to provide?
  • Do I need any additional certifications, schooling, or training for my business?
  • Will this business be online or in a storefront?
  • How much money am I willing to spend to make this happen?

It is important to have solid and achievable answers to these questions or your business might never get off the ground. For example, if you would like to own a coffee shop or restaurant do you have enough funds to purchase the property or begin restaurant construction? If the answer is no, then it might not be time to quit your day job.

Do You Have Help?

While ultimately rewarding, starting your business can be incredibly stressful and time consuming. Are you going to have a business partner or will you be flying solo? Will you be employing other people to help you? If nothing else, do you have the support of your family and friends on this endeavor? You don’t want to burn yourself out before your business even opens so evaluating the help you will need and having a support system in place is crucial.

What Are Your Goals?

Of course, the end goal of owning a business is being your own boss and making enough money to support yourself. But this is a HUGE goal that will not be accomplished quickly. Rather than focusing so much on the end result, break it up into smaller goals, instead. This will allow you to feel the pleasure of small victories and keep you motivated to continue on the path you’re on. For example:

  • I need to make a budget before I get started
  • I would like to have a functional and appealing website within three months
  • I want to prepare a home office space by the end of the week

By the time you finish your goal list, your business should be well on its way for a grand opening!

Like all good things, starting your own successful business will take time. You can save time, however, by starting things off on the right foot with the tips above!

Balancing Costs With Essentials As An Artist

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Balancing Costs With Essentials As An Artist

Creatives have it tougher than others. Unless they end up on magazine covers or are propped up by the industry as the Next Big Thing, it can feel difficult just to survive. And that’s even before the self-doubt kicks in over whether you chose the wrong company to work for. If art is your passion, it’s only understandable that you want to make a living with it. A lot of people will tell you that you won’t make money from a career as an artist, which is not the case at all. Try incorporating these tips to achieve your artist dreams without going broke in the process:

Consider the Right Investments:

One major issue with following your artistic dream is the costs, and anyone who has a creative bone in their body knows what these costs are. From acting lessons to high-quality paints and utensils, it can feel you’ve spent everything before you’ve earned a cent. This is why you need to choose the right investments for your craft. Look for high quality but affordable materials from The Sydney Canvas Company, and don’t forget to create a website to go alongside your social media profiles to boost awareness and look more professional.

Know Your Worth:

Many struggling artists desperate for work will have no choice but to accept being paid in exposure. This is a bit of a joke, though, and it’s something clients use to get people to work for free. If you know your worth, you’ll be able to avoid gigs that take advantage of you, which means you have more time to focus on improving yourself. While you might miss out on some jobs, you will be able to demand a price that you can live off of, because you can’t pay for groceries with likes or word-of-mouth.

Don’t Abandon Other Work Entirely (Yet):

Once you decide to pursue your passion, you may have plans to quit your current job and say goodbye to the nine to five lifestyle. However, as you are not stable yet, this is not a good idea. If you want to make sure that you can balance living costs with the essentials as an artist, you’ll need to persevere in your day job for now. As time goes on, you may be able to reduce your hours before giving it up entirely, but until then, stay patient.

Research the ‘Competition’:

It feels wrong to pit artists against one another when they all have the same goal in mind, and that’s why the word ‘competition’ feels off. Still, if you know what others in your industry are doing, you will be able to adapt to the times, especially when it comes to charging for work or considering how to improve in the future. Building a network of artists is free, and this can help you become better in every aspect of your work.

There will be many, many times where you feel like giving up your dream for something more stable. But, doing so would be a disservice to your talent and your passion. If you know how to balance the cost of being an artist with living a comfortable life, you’ll find that it is possible to make money from what you love to do.

Featured Image By: Unsplash

How To Protect Your Business

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How To Protect Your Business

If you want your business to be successful, then there are multiple different areas that you need to focus on protecting. Protecting a business is about more than just keeping your numbers out of the red, so where do you start? Consider the following:

Protecting your premises:

When people talk about protecting their business, they’re usually referring to the physical premises of their company. This can be your store or your office, but it might also include your warehouse or even your home depending on your business.

Protecting your business typically means having security cameras and alarm systems. However, there are some cases where a large warehouse may need security guards or even multiple systems to defend against intruders. This is extremely important to protect your staff as well as your stock and ensures that you won’t face any burglaries in the future.

Protecting your employees:

Your employees need as much protection as anything else in your business. This usually starts with looking after their physical and mental well being. It can mean keeping an eye on them to see if they’re healthy, but it can also mean checking on their work progress and seeing if they’re encountering any troubles.

You might also want to look at working with a health insurance broker to offer your employees benefit packages that help them stay healthy. This not only helps to protect your employees, but it can give them peace of mind knowing that their employer is looking out for their health. This adds another form of protection in the form of higher retention rates. It means that your employees will be less likely to seek out other career options because they’re happy in their current position with an employer that cares for their long-term health and well being.

Protecting your digital assets:

Most of us already have some kind of anti-virus software or firewall to help protect our computers from hackers, but that’s really not enough these days. Cybercriminals are becoming a major problem for businesses due to organized online crime and large teams of hackers that share common monetary goals. They won’t hesitate to target smaller businesses if there’s a chance that they can make a profit from breaking into your systems.

It’s a good idea to work with a managed IT services provider to help protect your online systems, but it’s also important to ensure that your cloud-based services and systems are all up to date. You also need to be careful of social engineering; a method of obtaining passwords and important data that can be used to break into a company’s computer systems and online services.

As you can see, there are many different ways to protect your business and they are all equally as important as the other. Spend some time coming up with a protection plan for your company, your staff, and your digital assets if you want your business to last a long time.

Featured Image By: Unsplash

Learning A New Craft In Lock Down

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Learning A New Craft In Lock Down

Hello! Life in lock down is, honestly, so boring at this point but the safety of ourselves, loved ones, and complete strangers is important and it makes all of the monotony worth it. If you have exhausted all of your ideas to keep you occupied at home, then it might be time to retire from your streaming services and try a new craft. There are so many amazing videos, kits, and how to guides out there to create something new and, today, we’re going to discuss a few of those options:

Knit Kits:

If you are interested in knitting, crochet, or macrame or would like to take the hobby up again, then there are so many websites that you can purchase kits from. Ranging in difficulty from beginner to intermediate and advanced, each kit provides you with the pattern, step by step guide, and materials needed for you to make a scarf, sweater, or blanket. Stitch & Story, We Are Knitters, and Wool And The Gang are all great websites to browse through for your next project! When the weather is nice, you could even host a social distanced knitting circle in your own backyard.

Restoring Old Furniture:

A trip to the local Goodwill, Salvation Army, or even shopping online through Facebook Marketplace can give you access to all kinds of gently used furniture just begging for a makeover. You could repair, repaint, or reupholster new life into secondhand items and redo your entire living room. Not to mention, make some extra cash if you ever want to turn your craft into a side hustle. Don’t forget garage sale style apps as well as Poshmark if you would like to profit from your new hobby.

Building With LEGO:

My boyfriend and I absolutely love building with LEGO and, although it isn’t a craft per se, I just had to include it on this list. Did you know that a LEGO replica of Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night will soon be available for purchase? What about a botanical collection that boasts bouquets, bonsai trees, and succulents? LEGO is constantly adding new sets with unique pieces and colors and are always finding innovative ways to work surprises into each build, which makes it an exciting hobby to have.

You can showcase your creative side with LEGO through free building or incorporating different sets into your home decor. I would sure like to have a LEGO Starry Night hanging on my wall!

Homemade Products:

Making your own cleaning products, candles, and bath and body care can be a really fun hobby, makes great gifts, and helps save you money. Online guides will help you develop your new craft and you can even experiment with your own recipes once you have a better idea for the best ingredients and techniques. You will feel comforted in knowing exactly what is going into the products that you are using and, who knows, it could just turn into a side hustle in the future if you create something really good!

Don’t forget to check in with your local businesses and boutiques because some of the owners might be offering online workshops for homemaking different products or art. For example, the local specialty knitting shop in my area, Harps & Thistles, offers knitting kits too and it’s always cool to shop local. 🙂

Have you learned a new craft during the pandemic? How about improved on any old hobbies? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

 

Need A New Hobby? Try The Following!

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Need A New Hobby? Try The Following!

Hey! Hobbies, hobbies, hobbies. That’s all you hear about when people talk pandemic and, as it has been almost a year since the start of this craziness, you might have exhausted all of the options of things to keep you occupied. Believe you me, I feel it completely and have felt like I’ve been stuck in a never ending loop of work, video games, Netflix, and bed. It can be hard to break that cycle but maybe these ideas below will help inspire all of us to keep on trying new things, despite all of the boredom blues. Let’s get to it:

Library Programs:

If your local libraries are anything like the ones in Ohio, then the events calendar on their website should be full of virtual programs that you can enjoy. There are events for every age group to participate in from story time for children to concerts from local talent and craft nights on Zoom. Take a look at your library’s website, see what sparks your interest, and sign up. The best part? If you don’t like it, all you need to do is close out of the Zoom call!

Make Some Money:

I used to be a huge fan of garage sale style apps like LetGo and they can be a great tool when you are doing a big home clean out. Start your spring cleaning early and see if you have anything that you’d like to try your hand at selling. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, as they say, and you could put your earnings towards a vacation fund when it is safer to travel. Plus: Clean house. It’s a total win/win.

Check Out Local Specialty Shops:

In my neck of the woods, there are plenty of small businesses that you can support and a lot of them have programs offered online. Perhaps your local game shop has an online Dungeons & Dragons community? Or maybe the craft store offers online tutorials on completing an art project from their employees. Not only will you help support their business but it will be a great way to meet new people and possibly develop a brand new hobby.

Fresh Spins On Old Favorites:

There is nothing wrong with sticking with the same old if it’s what you enjoy but how about putting a spin on it? Love pampering yourself in your free time? Try your hand at making your own soaps or lotion. Handy in the kitchen? Open your cook book to a random page and whip up something you never tried before. Book worm? Start your own book club with your friends over Zoom! Incorporating some new things into a hobby that is already your favorite will keep things exciting and you can become skilled in all areas of your craft.

We still have a long way to go before things go back to “normal”, which means we are going to be confined to our homes for a bit longer. Try the ideas above and, before you know it, nicer weather will be here and seeing friends safely outdoors will be possible! 😀

How do you spend your time in lock down? What is something new that you’d like to try? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Setting Up Shop Online And Not Screwing It Up

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Setting Up Shop Online And Not Screwing It Up

Setting Up Shop Online And Not Screwing It Up:

Hi everyone, this time, we’re looking at something slightly different. Everyone who loves fashion and thinking about it has probably had the same idea at one point or another. How you would like to be in the business. Nowadays, what with the internet, it’s not that hard to set up a business of your own based on what you love. In particular, we’re looking at ecommerce. Here are just a few of the things I’ve learned from great (and not so great) fashion ecommerce sites:

Smarter Sites: Hyper smart site design isn’t something that a lot of people think about regularly – but it’s important. When you’re thinking about customers, you have to think about how well you’re retaining them. Even just a few ‘off’ features can put them off. So look at things like buying without the need to sign in. Consider how smart and well placed your search function is. Breadcrumb navigation is another smart choice, which makes sure the customer knows how far along they are in the purchase process.

Photography Rules: Photography and fashion go hand in hand. A high-quality picture is going to sell people much more than a low price tag or a few lines of hype. For your site, there are two kinds of photography you should consider. First, mannequin photography, so people can inspect the item from different sides and zoom in. Second, it’s a good idea to have a model and professional photographer show how it looks being worn. You can’t go amateur with this step. Unless you’re a practiced photographer, it will just end up looking off.

Don’t Be Hard To Buy From: A big part of running an online shop is how accessible it is. How many times have you been frustrated and given up on a site because it went all wonky on your mobile? How many times have you been turned away because a site can’t accept your method of payment? That site probably lost you as a customer. So if you’re starting one, avoid that mistake. Make the site responsive in its design. Then look into things like PayPal and payment processing so you’re able to take money in a whole range of ways.

Don’t Be Broken: Don’t launch too early! Whenever you’re making changes to the site, test it and test it again. If you can, hire some QA guys to come browsing and have them try to actively break the site. Discover any broken links and functions and get them fixed before you’re online. The reliability of the site isn’t the only thing you can test as well. A lot of businesses also test how good their sites are at making customers. Customer rate optimization is something a lot of businesses need to think about and many use A/B testing to do just that.

If you want a successful site, it’s all about the look and the feel of it. You need to make sure it’s accessible and looks amazing. After that, it’s all about finding the right product.

Does anyone own an online business? Feel free to post the links in the comment section below! Much love. -Sarah

Featured Image Provided By: Pixabay