Last week Saskia spoke at a Meet the Maker event put on by her local Etsy team, NY Handmade Collective. We had a wonderful turnout, and want to recap the highlights for you. The talk focused on Saskia’s business growth over the last eight years, and how her pat-time hobby turned into a full-time business with seven employees.
Here are SIX TIPS that Saskia learned from her own experience to help other small businesses grow.
This may seem obvious, but it came up again and again. Regardless of how great your product is, if you’re not working harder than your competitors, you’ll start falling behind. Even after leaving the event, Saskia found herself working on the subway ride home. Focused energy and effort translates to growth: it’s going to be scary, and you’re going to be pushed out of your comfort zone, but the result is worth it.
TRY DIFFERENT MARKETS
Right from the beginning Saskia learned that trying different markets helped her find the right clientele. Testing each different niche is essential - you don’t want to miss an opportunity by simply not trying. Trial and error is all part of the process.
TAKE SMALL BUSINESS COURSES
This has been incredibly helpful for Saskia. There are countless business courses in every region and they’re a great resource in your early stages of business and beyond - use them! One key takeaway Saskia learned from the Plan for Growth via SBIDC taught by Holly Howard: it isn’t about what you sell, but how you sell it. The experience you give your customer goes a long way.
CONSIDER WHOLESALE VS RETAIL
Both wholesale and retail are great paths for most businesses, but think about what’s right for your company. It can be difficult to juggle both, so plan strategically. Sometimes young businesses don’t realize that they are two separate directions and find themselves doing both badly. In Saskia’s experience she found she needed to focus on one and then add the other.
If you want to grow you have to let go. You want to have your hands on every aspect of your business - it’s understandable - but in order to push your business further you must have other people take care of tasks you can no longer manage yourself - especially production!
INVEST IN YOUR COMPANY
This is different for everyone, but don’t be afraid of it. Saskia plans to grow online, which required investing in marketing and organization among other things. (Spoiler Alert! Be sure to follow our newsletter for some exciting news to come!)
Here’s a bit of Saskia in her own words, but remember - building a business is a long-term project. It takes lots of work, lots of time and many helping hands.